7 thoughts on “Twitter Should Cut The SMS Cord

  1. The argument is going to go on and on – on the one hand we have the obvious benefits of advancing the site in accordance with the available technology but then we have the desire to not alienate those in the developing world where smartphones are not prevalent or restrict those who have gotten used to specific ways of working.

    When Dick Costolo is saying that Twitter want to unify the experience it does make you wonder if they will be aiming for the lowest common denominator or if they will be using a core experience and then tailoring additional functionality to the method of access employed.


    1. My thinking was that SMS is a very limited platform, so you can provide a subset of functionality there. Obviously SMS will miss the metadata, but that is no reason to not provide it in other places. Costolo has to focus on revenue, but it just feels like they are limiting themselves by not moving forward. And where are the annotations???


  2. Not sure what the structure of data fields in Twitter’s API would look like if URLs were to be moved out of the 140 character field. With L.L SLDs becoming popular (as IDNs) on top of the existing shift to LL/NN SLDs, the maximum number of new data fields needed to accommodate links would not be insignificant even if total field length was capped at an equivalent of 140 characters.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems as if there is more of a revenue driver behind the current arrangement than a legacy technical issue. Twitter is now in a position to monetize analytics, which it could not do if it shed its wrapper system.

    The debate over lengthening OMB text fields was drifting towards a breach in the 140 limit under some ‘all in’ dent expansion. The question was settled somewhat in the direction of what is proposed above, with an ‘attachment’ allowed to supplement each dent. Broader federation issues aside, have you noticed any disruptions in Twitter as a result of those changes?

    A rough guess would be that conversions (as CTRs) would be higher under Twitter’s existing system than what we’re seeing in OMBs, and that link utilization in Twitter would also be greater — thanks both to the automated nature of the shorter and cultural factors that eschew shortening in denting. In summary, the experience for users and revenue for Twitter is higher under the existing arrangement than it would be under the revisions proposed above.


    1. While I started by complaining about url wrapping, I can understand the reasoning beyond spam control. I am a big fan of the analytics you can gather, and the added value that can come from the knowledge gained from those analytics.

      I can understand the revenue argument up to a point. If you are focused solely on the advertising revenue (promoted accounts/tweets/trends included), then I would agree that there is no benefit to changing what exists. But what if you wanted to look outside of advertising for revenue? Subscriptions to a “pro” account where you can see all of the metadata like urls, media location and other things would be interesting, but that is not possible right now. I have not done market research so I cannot be sure what revenue opportunities they could be missing.


  3. I was at a Twitter Developer Teatime event in London last week and I asked them what happened to annotations.

    Their answer was that last summer, when they were working towards annotations, they had to divert resources to deal with the load from the World Cup, and it never found it’s way back onto the priority list. It is something they would still like to do, but it’s not on the current roadmap.


    1. Part of me is concerned by this, it was a high priority at one time and now it can’t get onto the priority list. I understand the drive towards stability and revenue, but it makes you wonder what goes on in those offices and what they are working on that we don’t know about.


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