Twitter just announced a complex, confusing, and developer-alienating system that restricts their once-open, always cherished but now apparently taken for granted API. The new rules change the playing field for third party developers, establish caps on number of users, and shift guidelines to requirements across four categories of businesses. Will these new API restrictions curtail growth of health-related third-party apps and, if so, will that ultimately be "bad" for healthcare? This issue is debated in point-counterpoint style by Michael Spitz, SVP and Managing Director at Zemoga (see Bio), and Pharmaguy.
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Pixels and Pills Post (excerpts):
Central to the success and fondness for Twitter has been its "open API" structure, enabling an application programming interface that allows developers to freely access and repurpose in any way they see fit all the streaming and archived data within the Twitterverse. The relationship has been reciprocal; in exchange for that unhindered access Twitter got some of the best programming know-how and third-party apps out there.
That symbiosis between Twitter, developers, and end-users has characterized one of the most successful communication experiments in human history. For the first time and on an unprecedented scale users themselves have created a digital channel's structure, syntax, and extensibility. Even conventions such as @reply and #hashtag originated with outsiders through this delightfully self-referential social media dance.
Twitter just announced a complex, confusing, and developer-alienating system that restricts their once-open, always cherished but now apparently taken for granted API. The new rules change the playing field for third party developers, establish caps on number of users, and shift guidelines to requirements across four categories of businesses that Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land humorously characterized in Star Trek terms.
Irrespective of the details, the result is alienation of the developer community that helped build, grow, and support Twitter. As astute bloggers have already observed, these new API restrictions will curtail growth of these third-party apps, and discourage new developers and businesses from entering the space. What was once a dynamic, innovative, and diverse Twitter ecosystem will now be increasingly and likely entirely controlled by the Mothership.
What's an API? What API changes are we specifically talking about? Discuss the details.
What will be the result of these changes with regard to the "developer community?"
How will this be "bad" for healthcare? Is Twitter now "good" for healthcare? How so?
Are we giving Twitter and other social media too much credit for its ability to improve healthcare? Are we just talking about moneyed interests -- eg, pharma marketing -- or actual health outcomes?
Michael Spitz is SVP and Managing Director at Zemoga, an award-winning digital innovation company, and editor of the Pixels and Pixels digital pharma blog. Spitz combines healthcare, interactive, and technology expertise to build compelling solutions for the health industry. Follow him @SpitzStrategy and keep this important conversation going for the betterment of patients worldwide.