Third Party Twitter Application Usage

In its early days, Twitter was only accessible through a personal computer with Internet access. But as its popularity grew and opened doors to third party developers, unofficial applications lent different dimensions and even improvements to an otherwise simple service. Experts may go as far as to say third party applications played an important role in boosting Twitter’s popularity over a short period of time.

50,000 Twitter applications

In November 2009, Sysomos sampled 5 million tweets gathered over the previous 5 months to find out the most popular Twitter clients. Collectively, third party twitter applications made up 53.21% of all tweets in that time period.  By the end of that year, the number of applications built around Twitter reached 50,000. In April 2010, that figure doubled to 100,000 around the time of their first developer conference.

KISS defined the need for stricter policies for third-party developers

It did not take long before Twitter developed its own suite of official applications to cater to various user segments, including mobile apps Twitter for Blackberry, iPhone, and Android. Meanwhile, Twitter seemed determined to fight off third-party developers for reasons such as Terms of Service violations. Security issues and keeping the service simple for users also became the hot topics behind Twitter’s stricter policies in allowing access to third-party developers.

Twitter’s API changes kill hundreds of apps

In March 2011, Twitter published changes to its application programming interface or API, that discourages software developers from creating clients that allow users to write, view, and respond to Tweets, while saying those existing clients should keep serving their users. Twitter stated that 90% of its users accessed the service through official apps. Shortly after the announcement, Sysomos conducted a study that found third party applications still brought in 42% of tweets to Twitter, based on a sample of 25 million tweets. These non-official apps include TweetDeck, Seesmic, Echofon, and HootSuite.

Apparently, TweetDeck Rocks

In this latest study, TweetDeck is still among the most popular, accounting for 5.5% of all tweets, although it is down from its 8.48% share in 2009. As TweetDeck accounts for 13.1% of all tweets from non-official clients, it is flanked by two other UberMedia owned apps, UberSocial (16.4%) and Echofon (9.2%).

In future posts, we’ll explore what these applications do, and whether or not we’d use them!