If HTML had an <IMHO> tag, I’d use it right about now: but I can’t help thinking as I read various articles about Microsoft bidding to power Twitter search that it’s a lot more enamored of Twitter than are many of its third-party developers.
If you’ve been to a Microsoft conference recently, you may have noticed the Twitter notification screens it puts up before keynote speeches. They basically consist of differently shaped boxes, each containing a Tweet with the event’s hashtag, falling like Tetris pieces. (In case you’re wondering, the app that powered that was Flotzam.)
But at a DevCon I attended here in Boston not long ago, the Microsoft emcee kicked off the keynote by asking for a show of hands of Twitters in the crowd. Only a handful of hands showed.
I only recently jumped aboard the Twitter bandwagon (follow me @WinDevelopment), but it seems to me, anecdotally, that Windows developers are a bit behind — or some may say skeptical of — the Twitter trend. It’s clear Microsoft is trying to push them toward it, but many of them don’t seem impressed. That’s not to say that Microsoft shouldn’t try to power Twitter’s search engine: Twitter has decently strong consumer support, and that’s something Microsoft wants regardless.
But I do wonder why Windows developers, who are on the whole a fairly tech-savvy bunch to say the least, haven’t embraced this latest child of Web 2.0. One of our in house Twitterati, Alex Howard, has an interesting observation that may explain it: Microsoft’s Twitter account has zero updates and isn’t branded, meaning it’s likely being Twittersquatted. Amazon, by contrast, has 93 updates, and Google has 152; the three companies have 67, 1,128 and 362,550 followers, respectively.
To be fair, Microsoft has other accounts that are more active, like MicrosoftVSTS. But without a unified front on Twitter, how can the company expect its developers to see the site as serious business and not just the latest Web toy?