Twitter’s Innovation in Assembly

Twitter's Innovation in Assembly

Being as one of the ten most visited websites on the internet, Twitter has rapidly gained its global popularity soon after it was launched in July 2006. The success of Twitter has been widely studied and discussed about how it aligns with web2.0 principles. One thing to look at is how Twitter effectively turns its website into a platform, and fosters the innovation and evolution through the power of network and community.

As web2.0 mindset promotes data to be re-useable, it creates opportunities for companies to simply integrate and merge applications or services provided by others, and generate better outcome than the product standalone.

The web2.0 principle, “innovation in assembly” is described by Tim O’Reilly as

When commodity components are abundant, you can create value simply by assembling them in novel or effective ways.

Let’s see how Twitter utilizes a set of great practices to fully elaborate this principle:

    • Twitter offers API to its platform:

      Twitter’s growth can be attributed to Twitter API which not only allows the service to be further expanded to mobile platform, but also encourages external programmers to build an API upon it and create additional value to it. (Examples of APIs built on Twitter API: Klout API and Topsy.

    • For better development: Data remixability and support multiple standards

      Twitter introduced a new rule in August 2012, which makes the per-endpoint rate limits more restrictive and ensures that all API requests must be authenticated. Data remixability can be realized when data is uniquely addressable and supports multiple formats and delivery mechanisms (Twitter API supports XML, JSON, and the RSS and Atom syndication formats.)

    • Great API practices for the developer community:

      Twitter successfully created a well-structured developer support infrastructure which fosters an active community for programmers to exchange ideas and collaborate more efficiently. Full documentation, sample code in multiple development languages are provided within the infrastructure as well.

    • Build your business model into you API

      Twitter’s API focuses on how to make the service available to users through different platform and access ways. Its core Twitter API even made the service reach users through mobile platform before the production of Twitter mobile app.

    • Use Web 2.0 to support your platform

      Twitter applied Web 2.0 practices such as “reward users first” by minimizing the barriers of adoption and fully “utilizing network effects” to build a vibrant ecosystem.

    • Use your platform to build customer trust and loyalty

      Twitter applied REST API methods allow developers to access core Twitter data. This includes update timelines, status data, and user information. The Search API methods give developers methods to interact with Twitter Search and trends data.

    • Learn from how your customers remix

      Twitter’s official iPhone application started from an external developer’s project, by which sufficiently illustrates how Twitter learn and adopt ideas from its users.

What’s more?

After the release of Twitter REST API v1.1 last September, the company has announced to retire API v.1 in March 2013, by which all unauthenticated client-side API calls will not be supported and other older widget users should switch to its Embedded timeline. Followed by the retirement of Twitter API v.1, TwitterDeck AIR and TwitterDeck Android/iPhone will be discontinued soon.

In response to those changes, Twitter promises its users a fast, feature-rich web –based application for modern browsers and a chrome app:

Twitter regards this action as “a reflection of where our TweetDeck power-users are going.” And in the future, all new capabilities will be introduced on this web-based application first, then Mac and PC apps.


Twitter API changes kill off Tweetdeck apps, GMA News, March 5, 2013
An update on TweetDeck, by Twitter TweetDeck Team, March 4, 2013

5,000 APIs: Facebook, Google and Twitter Are Changing the Web, Adam DuVander, February 6, 2012
Twitter’s Other Ecosystem: Twitter-derived APIs Double in One Year, Adam DuVander, May 26, 2011
Salesforce Marketing Cloud Launches Social Ads Platform For Twitter With New Twitter Ads API, Michael Lazerow, Feb 20 2013 
What’s Driving Twitter’s API Changes?, Bob Fine, September 7, 2012
First Look at Twitter’s New Ads API, Geoff Simon, March 11, 2013 


What Enterprise2.0 has brought to Citibank

Web2.0 tools open up opportunities for business to interact directly with customers through implement appropriate social media strategies. Socail media such as Twitter, Facebook and Yelp also provide similar potential and resources for small business owners to compete with larger enterprises. Even finacial institutes catch the trend and utilize socail media as a direct channel to disseminate message to their customers.

Citigroup has long adopted Twitter to distribute organization news, upcoming events and market updates; together with blog, Facebook fanpage and Youtube, the website of Citigroup is like a web2.0 platform, connecting to miscellaneous channels for users to interact with the company.

Citi has integrated a few social media to the website

CitiGroup applies different marketing strategies for different platforms to attract attention from customers. While they use Youtube
to deliver speaking from executives about market news and commercial videos about organization’s insight, they post breaking news and provoke interesting discussion on Twitter and Facebook.

Citi uses Twitter to distribute news and upcoming events

Citigroup has successfully achieved desired outcome through adopting the concept of Enterprise2.0:

1. Productivity and efficiency:

Through the news posts and users engagement on socail media, Citigroup has boosted productivity by receiving and monitoring users’ feedback and comments on their distrubuting content, and further improve the product. At the meanwhile, using socail media to disseminate messages enhances the efficiency of information delivering, comparing with traditional channels such as TV or newspaper advertisements, it enable the business to communicate with customers more effectively.

2. Staff engagement & knowledge sharing:

Citigroup’s Global Transaction Services unit is in charge of monitoring outlets of respective social media, to collect data from user feedback about potential direction to improve the products. Besides, Citi has employed a social networking based intranet since 2005, and in 2009 the cooperation adopted Citi2.0, which is a sharepoint-based platform, for improving the efficiency of collaboration and knowledge sharing. And it features idea generation function which encourages ideas created, voted on, and refined by the community of global employee.

3. Enhance reputation:

Citi utilizes numerous social media to directly reach and interact with end-users, through real-time information updates and news distribution, customers can gain thorough idea about the market and the company, and build up strong connection or even loyalty with it.

But even web2.0 tools give enterprise abundant opportunites to engage with their customers, it brings hidden dangers as well:

1. Security

Citibank suffered a major information security crisis in 2011 while around 360000 customer’s financial data have been exposed through a large-scale cooperation hacking. Security experts have addressed that Citi should not have embedded bank account numbers directly in the URL. While according to Harvey Koeppel, CIO of Global Consumer Group, Citigroup, “Financial service has a risk-averse nature”, the exposurer of customer data may have tremedous negative impact on customer retention and reliability of organization.

2. Loss of Control & Impact on Reputation

According to Customer Service Scoreboard, Citi has only 10 positive comments out of 286 total submitted comments, furthermore, there are 3 negative comments from employee which are seriously against the banking service of Citi. Despite the reliability of whether it is submitted from “real Citi employee”, the comments will impose a brutal impact on customer retention and loyalty.

So what can Citi do?

1. Focus on Diversity:Apply different socail media and platforms with specified strategies for different countries. Some of the regional websites of Citi have not employed any Web2.0 tools to facilitate their engagement with customers.2. Enhance the security to recover customer retention:It is very crucial to guarantee customer high information security since no one will like to risk exposure of financial statement. Since the apporach which the hackers applied to hack into Citibank’s website is quite simple, which reveals even worse concern about reliability of Citi.

3. Encourage active users engagement on social media:

Citi has many customers like the fanpage but only a few talk about it

It is easy to have customer like your fanpage while what shall be taken into concern of Enterprise2.0 is how to encourage customers to actively participate in the discussion, and be willing to recommend this product to their acquaintance, thus to improve retetion and attract more potential customers.

American Express Open has illustrated great examples of how to successfully get your customers talk about your products and further bring more customers in. Focusing on what customers would be interested in and providing them with appropriate contents and service are the key to keep customer stay, instead of using socail media to disseminate repeating commercial advertisements.


1. Seize the Conversation

2. Banks use Web 2.0 to increase customer retention

3. How Citigroup hackers broke door using banks website

4. How Citigroup uses social media in its quarterly reporting

5. Building Citi’s social media presence-Citi Blog