How @Twitter is preparing to trap you and monitise it’s mobile service

After  a 6 months absence from Twitter I have noticed some small but significant changes.

The biggest change is that links within tweets on the mobile app opens within the app. This is the reason there is a blue bar across the top of the screen. You are now viewing the video/photo/content via Twitter.

This blue bar may seem insignificant, and does not really effect the user, but this space provides an opportunity to potentially show adds relevant to what ever content is being viewed. The sheer scale and traffic volume generated by Twitter means if they decide to put ads that are charged to advertisers per thousand views (which is standard), it could make millions per month (or maybe week or even maybe per day ?).

Twitter is creating processes to keep user trapped in the app . So far this seems to work as it actually improves the user experience.

There is more going on behind the scenes on the technical side of things. Twitter’s  has changed the rules relating to it’s API. The API is the way third party companies can use Twitter to build applications (e.g. the Twitpic photo sharing app). In addition to this, Twitter has previously purchased Tweetdeck and Posterous. This means Twitter now has it’s own in house desktop and auto posting services. If Twitter decides to remove access to other, non Twitter apps, this would remove all of the competition; increasing Twitter’s opportunity to advertise across the web, desktop and mobile.

The bottom line is that as long as users want to use Twitter, then services that have been created in protest to it’s changes, will have trouble competing.

Why @foursquare is the most useful social media app on your phone

In a recent productivity drive, I reviewed how I use social media  and decided that if I only could use one app on a daily basis it would be foursquare.

Using foursquare to explore an area provides me with up to date (sometimes almost real time) tips, reviews and also special offers from one simple interface.

I use foursquare privately. Checkins provide the app with important data to provide recommendations for when I explore new areas. The radar feature currently being developed means that soon, your phone will alert you every time you are close to somewhere that (based on your checkin history and favourites) you will like. To improve the future accuracy of this function, I only checkin to places of interest (restuarants, tourist attractions, sporting venue, book stores etc) and not generic regular places such as train stations, super markets, hostipals etc.

foursquare also interegrates with Amercian Express, providing cash back on purchases that are accompanied by a checkin. This has value for both the user and also vendors, this is why I and others believe that foursquare is the easiest social network to seemless monitize its services without effecting the user experience.

The pictures, tips and reviews within foursquare also means that foursquare has a growing pool of verrified local and venue related user genrated content.

Moving forward, I would like to see foursquare integrate Tripadvisor to provide more in app reviews. In addition to this I would also like to see the option to make in app purchases for local business products and services via the integration of a payment system (Paypal, Square, Amex, Visa etc).

And what about Twitter and Facebook?

For me, Twitter is the ideal tool for broadcasting information. I use it to share content I have created. This is normally done automatically via WordPress.  For me, consumming content through Twitter is just too overwhealming. Although for real time news, Twitter search is unbeatable.

The dark sie of Twitter is that it is too easy to get lose yourself in tweets, and ultimately waste time. Trying to have a discussion on Twitter using just 140 characters is at best frustrating, and at worst impossible. I currently do not have the twitter app on my phone.

Facebook has become my social address book. It is where I can log and record all the people I meet, and use it to reach out to them. The number of friends I have now means that using Facebook to monitor news from close friends is difficult. The list function recently introduced does start to address this issue. I only access Facebook from my tablet whilst at home  to see personal news and updates from friends.

For general news and updates relating to my interests and hobbies I use Google Reader. This RSS feed reader easily allows me to segment and monitir news from one interface.

Despite all the developments in social media I still find the best way to keep in contact with close friends and family is telephone calls and email, and of course personal meetups….

But if you haven’t tried foursquare, give it a go, I really believe it is the future and super useful. It is available on all smart phones.