Is Twitter's dead developer conference another nail in its coffin?

Twitter will not host its annual Flight developer conference this year amid speculation and uncertainty about the company's future. Its bruised relationship with developers may be a sign of what's to come.

Twitter has never been very good at showing developers love.

Within weeks of being formally re-appointed as Twitter CEO last fall, Jack Dorsey issued a long overdue mea culpa to the company's bruised developer community. Upon his return to the social media organization he cofounded and led until 2008, Dorsey took the stage last October at Twitter Flight, the company's annual developer conference, to apologize to developers, plead for their patience and ask for another chance to reset their relationships.

"Somewhere along the line, our relationship with developers got a little bit complicated, a little bit confusing and a little bit unpredictable," Dorsey said last year at Twitter Flight. Rebuilding relations is "going to take some time, it's not going to happen overnight. I commit to you that we will make the right decisions and serve this community in the right way."

[Related: Twitter CEO proves he still doesn't get it]

Those proclamations proved hollow this week when the company confirmed to Recode.net that it won't host Twitter Flight in 2016 and will instead focus on smaller regional meetups with developers. (The company's first developer conference was in 2014.) Twitter has hosted similar regional meetups with developers for many years, and while they can provide more intimate settings for Twitter to build and repair developer relations, they're no equal to the annual soirees large technology companies host to rally the troops, provide guidance and tease new projects.

Twitter's developer problems symptomatic of larger issues

With its decision to cancel the annual developer conference, Twitter is pulling away from developers both symbolically and symptomatically. The move shows Twitter's lack of confidence amid growing uncertainty about its future as an independent company. "Regardless of what their reasons were for not hosting the event this year, it will be taken as a sign that things are not going well for Twitter," says Raul Castanon-Martinez, senior analyst at 451 Research. "If Twitter had long-term plans I seriously doubt they'd be doing this because they have invested in rebuilding their relationship with developers."

Castanon-Martinez also doesn't think the company will have a developer conference in 2017.

In light of all the recent speculation around Twitter's future, holding back on a developer conference might be a good idea, according to Brian Blau, vice president of research at Gartner. A high-profile event could expose the company to additional risk and uncomfortable questions that Twitter would rather avoid right now, Blau says "Maybe they don't want attention. They don't want the scrutiny."

[Related: Twitter apologizes to, tries to woo back, developers]

Twitter's relationship with developers is an ongoing "comedy of errors," according to Castanon-Martinez. "Twitter has repeatedly disappointed developers, pulling the rug from under the people that are creating value for the company and finding new ways for user-generated content," he says. "You can only get away with this so many times, and Twitter probably crossed the line a while ago."

Developers and users hoping for updates from Twitter, signs of progress or an opportunity to hear the company's top brass speak on the big stage, could have to wait a long time. Twitter's days of holding large developer conferences might be long gone.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags twitter

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Kapko

CIO (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?