Two social marketing giants just became less social. As of last week, posts made on Twitter (tweets) will no longer appear on LinkedIn. Previously, users of both platforms who had synched the two accounts had been able to distribute their 140-character messages automatically to LinkedIn.
But no more. However, LinkedIn users will still be able to post messages to Twitter, at least for the foreseeable future. (Users are encouraged to start their conversation on LinkedIn, check the Twitter box and click “share”).
Why the change? Some believe that “cutting off tweets to LinkedIn users is part of a greater initiative at Twitter to create stricter requirements for developers who use the company’s application programming interface or API”. An API, by the way, is a set of tools allowing third-party developers to write custom programs. The new approach ensures that Twitter can maintain more consistent branding across the Internet.
The restrictions also discourage “spray and pray” spammers who attempt to broadcast across as many channels as possible. And that’s a good thing.
There’s another, more cynical explanation of the change: “They don’t want people to consume and interact with Twitter in places where they probably have no ability to put ads”, according to Greg Sterling of Opus Research. Now users will need to interact with Twitter on its own platform.
While you can’t blame Twitter for trying to make a buck, some criticize the suddenness of the change. What’s more, the change signifies a more formal approach, not the word-of-mouth interaction that has made social marketing what it is: social.
Does the change represent a trend in social marketing? Stay tuned.
Cam Levack, Raven5 Ltd, Toronto, July 2012