In a very interesting interview with Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, Sean Ammirati at Read/WriteTalk asks some good questions about the role of the the Twitter API in their success and plans going forward. Two things that jumps out is that Biz’s comment that the API has 10x the traffic of the website and that of all that’s happened with Twitter in the past year that “the amount of activity around the API has been the most surprising experience”. (Our Twitter API profile here.)
Read/WriteTalk interviews offer a handy transcription and so here are few tidbits on the API:
Biz Stone: Yeah. The API has been arguably the most important, or maybe even inarguably, the most important thing we’ve done with Twitter. It has allowed us, first of all, to keep the service very simple and create a simple API so that developers can build on top of our infrastructure and come up with ideas that are way better than our ideas, and build things like Twitterrific, which is just a beautiful elegant way to use Twitter that we wouldn’t have been able to get to, being a very small team.So, the API which has easily 10 times more traffic than the website, has been really very important to us. We’ve seen some amazing work built on top of it from tiny little mobile applications like an SMS timer that just allows you to set a reminder over SMS to call your mom or something like that, to more elaborate visual recreations of Twitter like twittervision.com which shows an animated map of the world and what everyone’s doing around the world with Twitter. Twitter is popping up from Spain and Japan and United States.And that’s very, sort of like, “Look at that!” It’s like staring at a fish bowl or something – an aquarium. You just find yourself getting lost in it. The API has really been a big success for us, and it’s something that we want to continue to focus our efforts on, looking forward.
Sean Ammirati: Cool. One of the things that’s interesting — and I think I know what your answer here is going to be – but I feel compelled to ask anyway. With this sort of open API being such a critical part of your success, how does that affect the business model as that develops? Biz Stone: Well, it depends on what business model we decide to pursue. We’re still very much weighing our options there, but there are definitely leading contender business models that we have mapped out where the API plays a significant role in generating just more traffic to our system. It puts us in an enviable position.So, the API becomes not only crucial for us on a creativity level and something that we can offer to the developers so that they can build their own applications and experiences, but it also becomes a way for us to grow and a way for us to potentially – depending on what business model we choose – do well there, business-wise. No matter what, we’re going to be considering the API. We’re going to be considering what folks are doing with it going forward so that it becomes part of what we are and what we do.
As VC Fred Wilson likes the sound of this and asks for more stories like this: “The API has >10x the traffic of twitter.com. That’s a great stat and I’d like to find other companies that have that metric working for them.”
We have a collection of Twitter mashups here including some highly rating ones like: