Housekeeping: How Many Hundreds of Twitter Apps Have You Authorized? How Many Do You Remember?

By Sarah Lacy , written on August 27, 2012

From The News Desk

Developer land has spent much of the summer pissed at Twitter. And although most people have argued the recent uproar was overstated, I can understand the roots of it.

More than any other platform, Twitter flung open the doors to developers from the beginning. Most of the features we take for granted as the core Twitter functions -- like @s and #s -- were developed and popularized not by the site, but by the community of users and developers. There was absolutely no gating of access the way most platforms have developed. It was "Hey, we've launched! Welcome to your communication playground!"

But as Twitter has sought to build an actual business -- and changed leadership, board composition, and company culture at least three times -- it has learned too much decentralization is a horrible thing. One could argue the site is being too heavy handed, and I think everyone would argue they've communicated the changes horribly. But it's easy to see why the company needs to control the Twitter experience, if they are going to monetize it.

Anil Dash, who has been one of the saner voices amid the uproar, sent a Tweet this morning that put a personal spin on how much of a crazy quilt Twitter apps have become several years in:

— Anil Dash (@anildash) August 27, 2012 213! I bet he couldn't name 15 of them without looking, and I bet no more than a handful are really relevant anymore.

Curious, I looked at mine and I have a small 23, but I also use primarily. Call me a Luddite, but I've always been nervous about allowing too many apps to access my Twitter feed -- I've seen too many DM fails by third party clients. I've also been wary of clogging my feed with too many photos, checkins, and other notifications.

But here's the thing: Even at a low 23, I'm struck by some of the bizarre names on the list. I must have used these all once upon a time, but don't recognize most of them. Like the Webbys. When have I even voted on a Webby, and why did I need to auto-Tweet about it? I can count on one hand the ones that actually enhance my experience of using Twitter on a daily basis.

There has been some very real concerns about what the new Twitter rules and the precious finite number of tokens mean for users' ability to try out alpha versions of apps that they may never use again. I can understand that -- again mostly due to Twitter's inconsistency over its lifetime on developer issues.

But I have to think the appetite is fairly limited to early adopters and not the Twitter audience at large. When it comes to my own Twitter feed and the larger ecosystem, it seems a clean up is definitely in order.