Twitter and Facebook’s API shift has affected developer sentiment about accessibility

Twitter Co-Founders Biz Stone And Ev Williams Address Developers Conference

If you’re interested in building an application or a new service these days, chances are that you’re going to integrate the two largest social networks out there: Twitter and Facebook. For developers, the clearest (and possibly the easiest) way to make sure data is easily interchanged would be to use an API feed.

Over the past couple of years, both services have announced some major changes to their API and this has definitely affected the way people are developing apps. But do these development changes actually affect the social sentiment of the community? Altimeter Group principal analyst Brian Solis, along with Netbase and the Pivot conference, took a look and found that as each API change happens, discontent is decreasing.

Just looking at the past year, as Solis examined the talk surrounding each of the major social API changes (including feeds from Tumblr and Foursquare), the overwhelming result was positive with more than 70% across the board pleased with the API, as you can see in the image below. But the volume of conversation across the board wasn’t equal — in fact, conversations about Facebook’s Open Graph and Twitter’s API (two of the biggest networks) surpassed all the others with 28,717 mentions about Twitter and 916,101 about Facebook. Tumblr and Foursquare didn’t even break 2,000 mentions.

Overall Social API Sentiments

So what exactly do developers have to complain about when it comes to the Twitter and Facebook APIs? Solis explains that for Twitter, 30% of people are upset over general issues to the API and 22% of those surveyed don’t like the changes to the API. Compare that to Facebook and you see 33% upset over their app being unable to post to the social network and 14% saying it lacks perks or it’s too time-consuming. Shockingly, only 7% are upset that the Open Graph changes too frequently.

What makes people happy about the APIs? Twitter receives high praise for having a great developer reference and for the ease at which it can be integrated. Facebook excels at being a great substitute for commenting and even an overall good idea. It seems that when you look at all the positive reaction developers have for the API, they are way better than the negatives.

Social API change compliant timeline

Any major changes in Twitter and Facebook can cause massive uproar around the community. And when the first API change happened in October 2011, there were lots of negative comments surrounding it — people just weren’t happy and were concerned about what will happen to their livelihood. Take that a few months later and in August 2012, there’s been a complete 180 as the discussion around the latest changes were met with equal praise and dissent.  It seems that people have started to accept the change and make the necessary tweaks to their apps.

You can read more about this report from Brian Solis here.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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