Revenge of the Twitter API

Darth Twitter
I’ve been waiting for you, Ay-pei Devobi; now I am the master.
Devobi
Only a master of evil, Darth.
Darth Twitter
Your powers are weak, old man.
Devobi
You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

The old Devi Knight lifts his sword from Darth Twitter’s then watches his opponent with a serene look on his face.

Darth Twitter brings his sword down, cutting Devobi in half. Devobi’s apps fall to the floor in two parts, but Devobi is not in it. Darth Twitter is puzzled at Devobi’s disappearance and pokes at the empty cloak.

Little does Darth Twitter know that Devobi is now on app.net.

FLASHBACK

Anatwit
@me, I saw your ship…
@me Amauser
Oh, Anatwit!
Anatwit
It’s all right, your user expereince is safe now. What are you doing using this app?
@me Amauser
I was so worried about you. Ay-pei Devobi told me terrible things.
Anatwit
What things?
@me Amauser
He said you have turned to the dark side… that you killed third-party apps.
Anatwit
Ay-pei is trying to turn you against me.
@me Amauser
He cares about us.
Anatwit
Us??!
@me Amauser
He knows… He wants to help you.
Anatwit
Is Ay-pei going to protect your user experience? He can’t… he can’t help you. He’s not consistent enough.
@me Amauser
Anatwit, all I want is your love. And your tweets.
Anatwit
Love won’t save Twitter, @me. Only my new API restrictions can do that.
@me Amauser
At what cost? You are a good service. Don’t do this.
Anatwit
I won’t lose you the way I lost FeedBurner! I’ve become more powerful than any Devi has ever dreamed of and I’ve done it for you. To protect you.
@me Amauser
Come away with me. Help me raise our apps. Leave this quest for monetization behind while we still can.
Anatwit
Don’t you see, we don’t have to run away anymore. I have brought peace to the Social Network. I am more powerful than Chancellor Facebookatine. I can overthrow him, and together you and I can rule the galaxy. Make things the way we want them to be.
@me Amauser
I don’t believe what I’m hearing… Ay-pei was right. You’ve changed.
Anatwit
I don’t want to hear any more about Ay-pei. The Devi turned against me. Don’t you turn against me.
@me Amauser
I don’t know you anymore. Anatwit, you’re breaking my heart. I’ll never stop loving you, but you are going down a path I can’t follow.
Anatwit
Because of Ay-pei?
@me Amauser
Because of what you’ve done… what you plan to do. Stop, stop now. Come back! I love you.
Anatwit
(seeing Ay-pei) Liar!

@me turns around and sees Ay-pei standing in the doorway of the App Net Cruiser.

@me Amauser
No!
Anatwit
You’re with him. You’ve betrayed me! You brought him here to kill my profits!
@me Amauser
NO! Anatwit. I swear… I…

Anatwit reach out, and @me grabs her throat as she starts to choke.

Ay-pei Devobi
Let her go, Anatwit.
Anatwit
What have you and she been up to?
Ay-pei Devobi
Let her go!

Anatwit releases his grip on the unconscious @me and she crumples to the ground.

Anatwit
You turned her against me.
Ay-pei Devobi
You have done that yourself.
Anatwit
You will not take her from me. Or my profits.
Ay-pei Devobi
Your anger and your lust for power have already done that. You have allowed this Dark Lord Zuckious to twist your mind until now… until now you have become the very thing you swore to destroy.
Anatwit
Don’t lecture me, Ay-pei. I see through the lies of the Devi. I do not fear the dark side as you do. I have brought peace, justice, consistency, and security to my new Empire.
Ay-pei Devobi
Your new Empire?
Anatwit
Don’t make me kill you.
Ay-pei Devobi
Anatwit, my allegiance is to the Social Network… to freedom.
Anatwit
If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy.
Ay-pei Devobi
Only a Veecee Lord deals in absolutes. I will do what I must.
Anatwit
You will try.

Anatwit ignites his lightsaber.

Anatwit
Don’t make me destroy you, Master. You’re no match for the dark side.
Ay-pei Devobi
I’ve heard that before, Anatwit… but I never thought I’d hear it from you.

The battle intensifies.

Ay-pei Devobi
The flaw of power is arrogance.

Ay-pei stands looking at his former apprentice for a moment.

Anatwit
You hesitate… the flaw of compassion.
Ay-pei Devobi
I have failed you, Anatwit. I was never able to teach you to think.
Anatwit
I should have known the Devi were plotting to take over…
Ay-pei Devobi
From the Veecees!!! Anatwit, Chancellor Facebookatine is evil.
Anatwit
From the Devi point of view! From my point of view, the Devi are evil.
Ay-pei Devobi
Well, then you are lost!
Anatwit
This is the end for you, My Master. I wish it were otherwise.
Ay-pei Devobi
It’s over, Anakin. I have the high ground.
Anatwit
You underestimate my power!
Ay-pei Devobi
Don’t try it.

Anatwit leaps forward with its new interface guidelines. Ay-pei cuts his young apprentice at the knees, then cuts off his left arm in the blink of an eye. Anatwit tumbles down in engagement and rolls to a stop near the edge of the lava that once consumed MySpace.

Anatwit struggles to pull himself up inengagment with his mechanical cards. His thin leather glove has been burned off. He keeps sliding down in the black sand of a TweetDeck column.

Ay-pei Devobi
You were the Chosen One! It was said that you would destroy the Veecees, not join them. It was you who would bring balance to the Web, not leave it in Darkness.

Ay-pei Devobi picks up Anatwit’s users and begins to walk away. He stops and looks back.

Anatwit
I hate you!
Ay-pei Devobi
You were my brother, Anatwit. I loved you.

Anatwit’s clothing blows into the lava river and ignites. Suddenly Anatwits bursts into flames and starts screaming.

Ay-pei looks in horror as Anatwit becomes engulfed in flames. Ay-pei can’t watch him as he struggles to climb in engagement, covered in flames.

He runs back to @me’s ship as Anatwit drops, smoldering, near the top of the MySpace pit.


And that’s pretty much how I feel about Twitter ending third-party app development.

What makes me particularly sad is that I barely had to change a line. George, I hope you don’t mind my appropriating your dialogue to make a point about an out-of-control organization so obsessed with power that they will destroy anybody who gets in their way. If you or anyone at Lucasfilm want this all-too familiar dialogue removed, let me know, and I’ll find another way to get the point across.

It’s hard to express how saddened, and upset, I am to see Twitter turn to the dark side. I can only hope that Twitter’s child, app.net, will be able to turn it back to the light side.

Until then, I’m willing to give App.net a try. I signed up this morning. Same username, @MarcDrummond. I’m currently waiting in the queue to try out the Alpha version of App.net. Hopefully by the time you read this, you’ll be able to find me there.

I don’t plan to stop using Twitter anytime soon. But the voices I care about, techies and developers, are likely going to move at least some of their conversations over to App.net. So I’ll be there too. I would expect that as those voices move over, the conversations on Twitter that I care about will get quieter and more infrequent. I could, of course, be wrong.

Will that kill Twitter? Not likely. The techies and developers who will migrate to app.net are a small fraction of the larger Twitter userbase.

And yet, that same group of users are the exact group that helped Twitter to get its start. Strategically, this was a dumb move on Twitter’s part. The group that helped Twitter get started is now likely to help App.net get its own start. And while App.net may never grow to the scale of Twitter due to the cost—I can swing $50 a year, but not everybody can—why would Twitter want to fuel the fire of a potential competitor?

You just never know what will happen on the web. One day, MySpace is king. The next day, Facebook. And Twitter. But their reign may not last forever.

I’m willing to give a chance to a service that cares about users and developers rather than advertisers. I want to believe a service like that can not only succeed, but thrive. If it does, it will be a small step to making the web a better place.

As a paid service, I have a hard time seeing App.net having the same global reach as Twitter. But that’s ok. The conversations I care about may well be on App.net, and that’s fine by me.

May the Force be with you. Always.