Twitter Shifts from Tech Startup to Media Network [Infographic]

The state of the relationship between Twitters and its developer community is nothing short of tumultuous. While there are significant merits on either side of the debate, what’s clear is that the Twitter of yore is no longer on a similar course for what will be the Twitter to come. It’s a sign of maturation and focus. It’s Twitter’s shift from tech startup and media darling to an aspiring new media empire. Ruffling feathers and clipping wings is an unfortunate reality of any business strategy.

What was once a Twitter paradox has now become promising new model for the future not just social and mobile media, but all media. Already, Twitter’s 2012 mobile ad revenue will exceed that of Facebook at $129.7 million to $72.7 million based on predictions from eMarketer. By 2014, Twitter expects to generate over $1 billion in sales according to insider reports. To put that in perspective, Twitter’s ad revenue in 2011 was just under $140 million.

As Twitter makes the pivot to a fledgling media giant, the teams at “Pivot” and Netbase studied how online conversations reflected the sentiment of the community toward Twitter. The team also looked at how conversations related to Twitter compared to those of Facebook, Tumblr, and Foursquare. Just looking at 2012 in general, Twitter tops the list with the most negative feedback at 30%.

So how does that 30% break out?

Well, 30% are general complaints.

22% reflect changes to the API rules.

16% are tied to DM.

When it comes to conversations around development platform, mentions of Facebook’s Open Graph trumps Twitter’s API at 916,101 vs. 28,717 over the course of one year. But Facebook is close to Twitter in terms of negative commentary at 29% compared to 30%.

So what are people complaining about when talking about Facebook?

33% complain that an app can’t post.

14% say Facebook lacks perks and extras.

Another 14% feel Facebook is too time consuming.

What of the flurry of conversations around API changes at Twitter and Facebook? If you look at the bottom of the infographic, we can see that compared to October 2011, both networks are faring much better now regardless of the media’s take on the subjects. Twitter earned far more negative reactions lasting a longer duration when it announced major API changes last year. This time around, it appears that Twitter’s API change saw more positive conversations in general occurring in a shorter burst. Facebook seemed to earn more positive support in both cases.

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Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. More so, he humanizes technology’s causal effect to help people see people differently and understand what to do about it. He is an award-winning author and avid keynote speaker who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation and innovation.

Brian has authored several best-selling books including What’s the Future of Business (WTF), Engage! and The End of Business as Usual. His blog,, is ranked as a leading resource for insights into the future of business, new technology and marketing.

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