Twitter is working on ways of getting more juice out of its vast trove of user content — that new “blue line” for conversation threads, for example, is a way for older conversations to resurface — so I don’t know how it is going to feel about this: a developed called Pierre Legrain, once himself a member of the Flock, has come up Twitterspirit, a service that lets users set an expiration time for their tweets with a simple hashtag. Think of it as a Snapchat for Twitter, complete with its own emphemeral imagery (for Snapchat’s cute ghost, substitute the equally hard-to-pin-down Spirit).
At a time when our data appears to be slipping out of our direct control, Snapchat has grabbed headlines for offering consumers a way of sending each other messages that disappear after a period of time, theoretically rendering the point moot. Twitter, of course, already lets users delete tweets. The difference with Twitterspirit is that this gives users more control over how long they would like their tweet to live — you set it with a #1m or #6h or #2y Set it with, and move on with your life.
This is a fun little hack, but when you think about it, there are some more serious implication here.
Here’s one of the cons as I can see it: If part of Twitter’s premise is on data created there staying put, and then potentially being used for revenue-generating purposes via ads, sentiment analysis for brands and more, then services that encourage people to delete what they’ve tweeted runs directly counter to that, like a thumbing of one’s nose.
And considering the background of Twitterspirit’s creator, it’s a little bit cheeky, too. At his time at Twitter, Legrain, according to his LinkedIn profile, was a product marketing manager overseeing revenue. In the time he spent there between June 2010 and April 2011, he “launched Promoted Tweets, Promoted Trends, Promoted Accounts and Analytics,” and he says he “also conceived, designed, wrote and developed http://business.twitter.com.”
Other past experience included time with advertising giant WPP.
As for the pros, these are here, too. For one, messaging may disappear on ephemeral services, but that doesn’t mean that money does, too. When Snapchat raised $80 million at an $800 million valuation for its service, its co-founder told us that advertising and in-app purchases will be two key ways that it will make money. Having a similar tweak available for Twitter could also be gamed by brands for their own ends.
It will be interesting to see Twitterspirit this takes off on Twitter, and whether it will be allowed to stay, or whether it, like those hashtagged and timed messages, disappears into thin air.
Original news: http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/02/with-twitterspirit-twitter-gets-its-own-snapchat-a-disappearing-tweet-hack-courtesy-of-an-ex-twitter-engineer/