LinkedIn and Twitter: Peanut butter and chocolate together … or not?

You may have heard that last week an essential change occurred in the Twitter – LinkedIn partnership. Up till last Friday it was possible to feed your Twitter messages to your LinkedIn status messages. For the outside world the partnership between the two came to an abrupt ending.

Some background
In november 2009 Twitter and LinkedIn announced their partnership, enabling users to tweet from their LinkedIn status and update the LinkedIn status from their tweets. The idea was simple: it will help you extend the reach of your professional messages. Like peanut butter and chocolate, that is at least how Reid Hoffman and Biz Stone called it in their announcement video.

Not every user was happy with the connection. Some users with high amount of twitter messages were now flooding their LinkedIn status messages resulting in the fact that all their connections were more or less spammed with what seemed to them to be irrelevant messages. There have always been options as a user to control what from Twitter shows up on LinkedIn. On the other hand there have also always been options to control what you see from your connections in your LinkedIn status stream. But as not every user knew to find these options the complaints existed and remained constant.

What happened now?
Last Friday June 29, Twitter announced to be working on a “consistent Twitter experience” which resulted in an immediate cut off from the Twitter to LinkedIn connection. LinkedIn on the other hand wrote on their blog that it is still possible to connect Twitter and LinkedIn by tweeting from your LinkedIn status message. It felt a bit like a weak defense: the two way street is suddenly a one way street.

From an alliance perspective
When you look at what happened from an alliance perspective we can only analyze based on what we are reading in the public announcements. It looks like Twitter has the desire to have more control over the way their product is being experienced by users: they own the product and others are enabled to build into that. It does not fit within their view of control that others integrate the Twitter product in their own similar products. From an alliance control and trust perspective Twitter no longer seem to trust the others with the data and is looking for full control. As the GigaOM blog suggests it may have to do with better monetization options for Twitter in the near future and hence with a strategy change or adjustment.

As we live more and more in an open world where people share everything everywhere it is ironic though to see that one of those sharing platforms is cutting back on its share-abilities.

What we can not see
The stories tell us nothing about the way the two companies managed their alliance. Perhaps it is a change that has been discussed for long time and where LinkedIn has had ample time to adjust to Twitter standards. Perhaps the strategies from both companies parted in such a way that the alliance served its purpose the past two and a half year and it is now time to move on. The announcements and the way the LinkedIn – Twitter connection is cut off does however hint to some turbulence in the relation between the two or at least an imbalance between the contributions and benefits.

It will be interesting to learn more about this change especially from an alliance perspective. Do you have a view on it?