I’ve used Twitter personally since 2008 (@henryclay) and professionally it continues to play an increasing role in any activity I’m involved with. So when evaluating which social platforms to integrate into our analytics tool Arcade Metrics, the decision to build on Twitter was the natural first choice.
Over the years Twitter has persisted in maintaining a dominant position in the social media landscape by firmly embedding itself into the cultural zeitgeist. It’s undoubtedly here to stay.
But to provide more objective reasons to build on Twitter…
Twitter’s core proposition
Twitter’s strength lies in its ability to constantly evolve around its core proposition: microblogging. This primary functionality has been tweaked and optimised over the years (such as increasing tweets to 280 characters, adding polls, creation of tweet-threads etc), but it always stays at the centre of its user offering. This provides a solid foundation, as when you decide to build on Twitter, as you know its remit is not going to drastically change course.
Occasionally whole new feature sets are added to satisfy the latest user expectations (fleets anyone?), but in the most part, these only serve to enhance the platform. On which note, I’m interested to see how the recent acquisition of Revue will affect the ecosystem, specifically with the potential for monetisation by users.
It’s also worth referencing the legion of third party developers building on top of Twitter. Their products are post-scheduling, time-saving, engagement-boosting, growth-optimising, insight-delivering and everything in between. It’s a great space to be part of.
For the love of data
Over the years I have enjoyed trying to figure out Twitter’s unique characteristics and leverage that knowledge – either to satisfy personal curiosity or to gain a commercial advantage. Data has been a key part of that process and has enabled me to identify trends, relationships and patterns. The obvious application of that insight is to understand how to build a large, authoritative and influential Twitter profile, but there are numerous other applications of the data – market research, lead generation, sentiment analysis, even stock price prediction.
Twitter’s API provides a route to get that data via an incredible, feature-rich developer platform. Head over to developer.twitter.com to see the extensive resources available – the depth of information is mind-boggling!
There are a number of ways you can use the API, from plugging into the fire-hose of content data being emitted from the larger ecosystem, through to granular metrics being created from individual accounts. What you need will depend on that you’re building, but it’s all available on tap.
An evergreen platform
Market share and audience attention are constantly being redistributed amongst new pretenders to the throne. Instagram made way for Snapchat, then along came TikTok. Undoubtedly another shiny new platform is on the horizon.
However, Twitter has a timeless quality; a resilience and tenacity.
Whilst it may not be the largest platform in terms of active users, there is no doubt that all the big hitters, whether organisations or individuals, use Twitter as a key platform to get their message into the internet’s town square and to engage with their communities. And there’s no evidence that this preference is going to wane any time soon.
Twitter is an endlessly fascinating social media platform. From a development perspective, if you decide to build on Twitter you’ll find its versatile API is incredibly rewarding to use.
Creating Arcade Metrics has been an eye-opening process to date. It’s still early days so I look forward to seeing how the journey unfolds. The end-game? It’s too soon to say, but in the meantime, the order of the day is to build, test and learn.