Twitter Changes "From" Display

Twitter implemented an API change on July 1st, 2009 so that all tweets originating via the API now have “from API” in the source display area of the Twitter timelines.

Previously the source area said “from web” when the originating application did not supply a source parameter when it publishes the tweet.

For the time being, TweetLater will continue to not provide a source parameter, which means your scheduled tweets will all have “from API” in the source display area.

We may evaluate this matter at a later date and decide if we should send a source parameter so that the tweets have “from TweetLater” in the source area.

Your feedback in the comments will be appreciated.

Update: Just want to clarify the following:

  1. This was a change that Twitter unilaterally implemented on their side.
  2. We cannot manipulate or change the source display. There are only two choices namely “from API” or “from TweetLater”. If we continue to not supply a source parameter, the tweets will continue to say “from API”.
  3. We cannot go back to “from web” because Twitter does not allow that. From July 1 the only tweets that say “from web” are those that were manually entered in the web interface of Twitter.com.
  4. It is not only TweetLater that is affected by this. The tweets from all third-party applications that don’t supply a source parameter now say “from API”.
  5. Chances are that we will leave it as is, i.e., as saying “from API” for TweetLater. Our service is fortunately large enough, popular enough, and receive sufficient word-of-mouth exposure that we have no need to use the source display as an advertisement for TweetLater.

Update: This comment from Ryan deserves highlighting here in the post body: “If you are providing your followers with something valuable they won’t care where the tweets are coming from.” So true, Ryan! When we change over to the OAuth authentication method of Twitter, we may not have a choice anymore in terms of the source label. Our understanding is that when an application uses OAuth, all tweets from that application are automatically labeled with the name of that application. We will be changing over to OAuth as soon as Twitter takes their OAuth authentication out of beta testing. To be clear, changing to OAuth is not optional for a Twitter application. Twitter is going to deprecate the username/password authentication method.

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71 thoughts on “Twitter Changes "From" Display

  1. Ryan

    I am amazed at the number of comments that suggests this is all the brain child of TWEETLATER. IT IS NOT, read the entire post, they in the corner on this one. TWITTER is changing the API so it is either identified as “from API” or from the name of the API accessing it. TWITTER is making the call on this one guys. Anyway if you are providing your followers with something valuable they won't care where the tweets are coming from!

  2. Submissive Guide

    It's a bummer that Twitter decided to change the source label. I personally don't mind which is used, but API is safer, as heck anyone can use the API to create something that uses Twitter, forget to give source data. My followers know that I send out auto posts with tips, websites and such so, as I said, it doesn't matter. They follow me for the work I do to provide them tips, not just the conversation I give while I'm actually online.

  3. Michael Ekstrand

    So, basically, people want to say “from web” to deceive readers. I can accept “from API” to be ambiguous/not turn people off, but the active deception is disheartening. This kind of attitude does not speak well of (at least segments of) the TweetLater user community. I don't care if you use TweetLater but still provide value; just don't try to lie to me about it.

  4. kristen

    I dont think it should say from tweet later, because then people wont value the content as much…

  5. John

    To sum it up, users want:80% Web15% API5% TweetlaterI'd say give what the users really want. This is one of the reasons that made Tweetlater popular in the first place.

  6. Rachel Keslensky - Last Res0rt

    Because as we all know, everyone stopped using blogs and reading webcomics when we discovered that people could automate their posts, right?I like the “Tweetstream” idea someone else suggested, but anyone who cares will find out one way or another, really. If disguising the source is the only way this service can survive, something is fundamentally wrong with it.

  7. Murff

    I would have preferred “from web” as it disguises the fact that it is coming from a bot. Now everyone will know what is going on and our secret is lost for ever. What a nuisance.

  8. Pat

    The Twitter world is getting very used to receiving communications from multiple sources. I have received a wealth of fantastic information on all subjects imaginable from third party sources. What matters is getting a response when a comment or feedback is offered. So it is the @replies and DM's that make it or break it. I would RATHER have tweets with great links and content coming from Tweetlater to get me the info, let me read it, and then get a “gee thanks” when I RT or an answer when I @reply them. It's all good if the follow up is handled, in my opinion.

  9. Alan

    I am cool with API, but if you use Tweetlater, it will identify that we are using this great tool, and not actually tweeting at real time. This tool, is great for my business tweets, but would be less effective if it said tweet later. I agree the word of mouth is good for your service, I speak about it all the time with other business owners.

  10. Jake McKee

    So reading the update (very helpful, thanks), I'd suggest that you still maintain the “from API”…. because that can sorta mask the posting source. i.e. it's impossible to know (in a reader's mind, at least) whether this tweet came from a desktop app in real time or a future post service like tweetlater. Is it possible to toggle a preference for this by individual user?

  11. Kevin Lankford

    I love the Tweetlater concept and if you have to that “Tweetstream” idea really does sound like a good one. API or whatever else doesn't matter much to me as long as I an not considered a spammer.

  12. JenChicago

    I appreciate the write up! I was wondering what that meant. Man! You can find answers to anything online!

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