A new Twitter feature request in the wake of lost 3rd party developer support

I just came up with a new idea for Twitter that I hope they are already hard at work implementing: The concept of an official Twitter client with official app plugins/extensions. This is not a new concept, but it seems like a smart way to control the user experience, but also allow for changing feature sets (which is always changing, since social media reinvents itself every few months).

The problem at hand is this: I want to post a photo to Twitter, but I want to be able to blur out faces and black out names and numbers. This might allow me personally to post more material that would be cool to share but is otherwise proprietary or copyrighted. The old fashioned companies of this era would say “Just don’t post anything!” But, since social media is becoming a lifeblood of tech culture, and most business relies heavily on the techies anyway, giving users a way to self-censor pictures seems like a Smart Idea.

Even better, what if users could install and enable a plugin that would pass tweets through to some sort of moderator account, before hitting the public space. Multiple users could be connected the same company feed (@whattheballs indicated by a ^ken or |patrick or –hugh or //nalin) and some authoritative PR person could pick and choose which tweets to approve. (Full idea credit goes to @quantumcowboy on Twitter).

These are two ideas that could be implemented in third party applications for Twitter using the Twitter API, but the user is really just posting tweets to a specialized account, or marking up some photos using a middleman app before uploading to YFrog/TwitPic and returning the link back to the Twitter client (ala TweetDeck). This leads me to believe that a plugins/extensions API for Twitter apps would be just as useful as 3rd party applications themselves. Twitter would have the user experience control that they want (since they are making an API at an arbitrary boundary within their own application, instead of the boundary they’re at now). ¬†They could even include a dev kit for Android SDK, iOS SDK, and Chrome/Firefox/IE* SDK to let 3rd party developers support all the major platforms.

Think about it, Twitter. Don’t destroy the creative arm of development for the sake of controlled user experience.

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