The Twitter times they are a-changin’

February 3, 2014
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Back in 2010, when Twitter was changing their API from Basic Auth to oAuth (the first Twitter-pocalypse) we had various conversations with the Twitter dev team regarding challenges that micro-controller environments have with implementing such protocols. John Kalucki (@jkalucki now ex-Twitter) made the following suggestion:

Why not have the controller proxy through a full-featured webserver that can oAuth in to Twitter?

So that’s exactly what we did. And then we realized that we were not the only ones with this problem, so we created the SuperTweet.net API service for anyone to use in their simple Twitter apps. It was a service to “help things that tweet” or using the latest buzzword, supporting “the Internet of things” such as Tower Bridge or a pool speaker.

The service was generally well received:

SuperTweet is a brilliant idea that works great and solves an otherwise irritating problem brilliantly! I award SuperTweet a Gearhead rating of 5 out of 5!
– Mark Gibbs, Network World

SuperTweet growth exploded when Twitter first shut off oAuth of course. However, even long after the switch to oAuth, SuperTweet.net saw steady growth, with the apps using it affecting over 1 million users.

On January 24, 2014 at 1:34PM Pacific time, the party came to an end. Twitter suspended the SuperTweet.net app:

Your application was suspended from interacting with the Twitter API because it violates our API Terms of Service (https://dev.twitter.com/terms/api-terms), specifically section I.4.A:

You will not attempt or encourage others to sell, rent, lease, sublicense, redistribute, or syndicate access to the Twitter API or Twitter Content to any third party without prior written approval from Twitter.

I get it. Its time has passed.

SupertweetShutdownNotice500

This is not really new and should come as no shock to anyone. Twitter has been gradually making changes to their API terms over recent years (see here, here, here and here), essentially toward the goal of putting the API genie back in the bottle. It’s quite clear that the current Twitter management sees the API as an albatross that they wish had never happened (but of course without it, there would be no Twitter, but that’s a topic for another day).

Some of the things that made Twitter really cool and interesting in the beginning simply don’t apply anymore. They don’t fit with the corporate strategy. The company wants to go in a different direction. As I said in October 2012, it’s not an apocolyptic event this time, but a gradual and continued disintegration of the Twitter third-party app ecosystem.

And, frankly, the Supertweet service is one of those things that really doesn’t fit anymore. Twitter doesn’t really see any value in “The Internet of Things” – they want to report news about it, but they don’t want to be part of it, to be the news. And that’s fine.

For those that have a need for such a service, we have open-sourced the proxy so anyone can set it up on their own Mac or PC. Find it on Github or see this link. Our efforts will now shift toward improving and supporting this open-source project.

Thanks Twitter – it was a good ride.

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