Is Twitter co-creating itself with its consumers?

May 13th, 2009

Last week Twitter upgraded the way it told people someone new was following them. Previously all you got was a name; now you get more details so you can decide whether to follow back, without having to click through.

Interestingly, two other services, Twimailer and Topify , already offered these features (plus a few more).

Here’s Twitter’s new notification style:

Twitter's new email notifications

And here’s a notification from Topify:

Email notification from Topify
I’ve often wondered how Twitter is going to successfully add features, because they’ve made it so easy for others to build infrastructure on top of their own.

As a public good, this is a great idea, because we consumers get a huge range of services we can use with Twitter, and it also helps us realise the value of Twitter, therefore increasing our loyalty.

But I didn’t realise until now what Twitter’s other motive might have been … to provide an open infrastructure so others can innovate, and to then take the best ideas and make them their own.

Is this co-creation in action? Or is it a bit predatory? What do you think?

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  • I wasn't actually aware that they were active on get satisfation. I think it'll be interesting to see how Twitter responds to the 2nd most popular suggestions: "We want all @replies reinstated" - perhaps Twitter could have dialogued about this change with the wider community before making it?

    But still I believe that the Twitter service is very much in the cocreation space, however the company decision making structure may not be...and. True cocreation to my mind reward the community innovators by partnering with them for mutual success rather than changing the game on them by 'steeling' their service offering.

    I could be overstating the case - if you know please enlighten me as to whether Twitter has compensated or partnered with Twimailer or Topify?
  • Great post...Twitter is an interesting example to use. At the moment I would say that Twitters evolution is still quite predatory. Because, while it shows many of the outward elements of co-creation it fails on two key factors.

    1). Twitter hasn't yet made user generated content an obvious part of their business plan - i.e. there is no voting system for what innovations are incorprated. Therefore @ev & @biz are still in control of all innovation, and not just the overall direction of Twitter.

    For example with Threadless their business model is clearly built around user generated designs/content, they only make the designs/changes that their users vote for.

    Beacuse Twitter is incorporating the functions that 'it' believes it's user value, it is still a top down control system. The improvements made are not decided by the community.

    2). While Twitter has made the playing field flatter, and given Tweeps the tools to develop apps and 'create value' they (as far as I know) have not rewarded Twimailer or Topify for their innovation = Steeling innovation. This is definitely not co-creation.

    Steeling all the great ideas and controlling what it's users can do rather than dialoguing about change, actually co-creating value and sharing the rewards of Twitters growth with it's community of innovators. Definitely not pure cocreation but a very clever business model - well @least until someone does it better.
  • Great thoughts Sammy. How about GetSatisfaction? Twitter is (presumably) monitoring that.
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