It's no secret that I love Twitter. It's my social network of choice, featuring none of the clutter of Facebook and all the inventiveness of a literary form. It's also more freewheeling than a lot of social networks, rewarding collaboration and promiscuous following habits. And I like how public it is. Anyone who's used Twitter for a while knows that private direct messages will bite you on the ass; it's better to keep everything above-board and in the public eye.
Which is why I'm especially disappointed to read this on The Verge:
Yesterday at noon Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibi sent the innagural Thunderclap, when he and 1,921 other people Tweeted simultaneously at a pair of U.S. senators. Taibi used an app, Thunderclap, built by a small team in New York. The service lets Twitter users break above the din by organizing for a mass messaging, a wave of tweets that hits at the same time.
Twitter suspended the startup's OAuth token today, after it sent its second "thunderclap" to Congress. Twitter told the Thunderclap team it was violating the site's terms of service by "sending multiple @ mentions and automating sending tweets."
There are quite a few apps that allow you to automate Twitter posts. So unless Thunderclap is in danger of breaking Twitter—in which case Twitter needs to be fixed—I have to assume that Twitter doesn't want to be used as a political tool. The Verge speculates that Twitter interpreted Thunderclap as spam, but until Twitter confirms or denies this, it's best to assume the worst with tech companies. It won't take too many of these mysterious judgments delivered from on high before people start to get suspicious of Twitter, and once that exciting sense of experimentation is gone, Twitter will die.