Hello, world

Friday, 30 October 2015

Last week, over 1,500 developers from over 39 countries attended Flight 2015 (@Flight) to learn more about using the Twitter platform to build the best apps and businesses. In his opening keynote, Jack promised to “reset” our relationship with developers going forward. He then Tweeted and asked everyone to send ideas and suggestions using #helloworld.

We’d like to share with you our analysis of these Tweets so far. Keep in mind that this is an ongoing dialogue. You can always Tweet me or, of course, Jack, and we’ll be listening.

In total, there were 5,746 Tweets in the first three days after Jack’s Flight keynote. Of these, roughly 700 focused on the platform. The majority were about the Twitter consumer app or our business in general. We also reviewed the conversations that sprung up online, including at Hacker News. Teresa Hammerl summarized many of the #helloworld Tweets nicely in her Medium post.

From the #helloworld Tweets that were related to the Twitter service itself, we saw the following high-level feedback:

  • Ability to edit Tweets
  • Remove the 140-character limit (and an equal number of requests not to remove it)
  • Improve the Lists feature
  • Accessibility improvements across the product
  • Lots of feedback about Moments
  • Suggestions on how to improve search

Our consumer product team is looking at this feedback as part of its ongoing planning.

For the platform, the #helloworld Tweets fell into four categories:

  • Make changes to Twitter’s API rate limits and token restrictions
  • Make more APIs public and make beta applications open
  • Provide more transparency and a clearer upgrade path to our Gnip offerings
  • Clarify the Developer Agreement and Developer Policy

So what’s next for the platform, specifically, in light of these suggestions?

As Jack acknowledged in his keynote, some of the historical decisions made around Twitter API rate limits and token restrictions made life for developers confusing, complicated, and unpredictable. The issue of tokens and rate limits is a complicated one since a very important thing the current restrictions do is help us combat spam and abuse on Twitter. We need to protect the core Twitter experience for people using Twitter as our first priority. As you might imagine, this particular request has sparked considerable ongoing dialogue within the company. But the outcome will also help address point #4: clarifying our Developer Agreement and Developer Policy. You can continue to inform this discussion by relaying your thoughts to Jack, me, or via the #helloworld hashtag.

Today, we have over 100 endpoints on the public Twitter API, as well as several API endpoints in private beta. These beta endpoints are primarily centered around our Ads Platform, access to which requires a direct partnership with Twitter. In the future, our approach to the API will be a lot more intentional. We want to ensure that the APIs we do publish reflect consumer adoption of features and products. For example, at Flight we announced Polls on Twitter. We want to ensure broad consumer acceptance of this feature before committing to shipping a public-facing API. You can expect this measured approach going forward.

Finally, today we offer several enterprise-focused Gnip APIs for streaming Twitter content, historical Twitter content, and insights and analysis of Twitter content. The Gnip product suite is built on top of the Twitter API and is designed for enterprise organizations looking to make better decisions about marketing strategies, product development, audience insights, and more. Our announcement at Flight to open Gnip access to TechStars companies is a pilot to gauge uptake and interest among their technical and geographically diverse community. Consuming Gnip real-time and historical products requires considerable processing power and storage. As such, the cost of using Gnip APIs is often a fraction of the overall infrastructure cost required. Further, because analyzing the amount of data offered by Gnip requires a highly specialized data science approach, a typical Gnip engagement involves a high degree of consultation between our team and the customer. Based on your feedback, we will clarify the differences between our public API and the Gnip APIs, and describe more clearly the scenarios for which Gnip APIs are more appropriate.

We wanted to give you an idea of what we’ve heard from you so far, what we’re discussing internally, and how to keep the dialogue going. Beginning next Tuesday at 9:30am Pacific Time, we will be hosting bi-weekly office hours with our @TwitterDev team via Periscope, taking your questions from #helloworld and from the broadcast. Stay tuned on @TwitterDev for details, since we’ll be hosting these in time zones for our developers around the world.

We’d also like to invite everyone in the community to join our research participant database to have a say in how we shape our developer platform. You can opt in to our research studies by filling out this survey.

We look forward to hearing from you. We are learning and we are listening.