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Twitter will start rating Tweets as "none", "low", or "medium", with a reserved "high" tag for unspecified future use.
The "medium" entries will approximate to the "Top Tweets" results for searches on twitter.com. This will allow applications to filter content from otherwise noisy or high-volume feeds.
This change is from the 20th February 2013. The tagging allows Twitter to create separate high rated Tweet streams. I see nothing wrong in this, but I hope that they present any paid for high rated tweets in a separate section of the screen, perhaps a box to the right of the current stream, as Google do for paid ads.
I hope they don't go down the Facebook route of only allowing your followers to see some of your posts/Tweets, depending on how often they click on your links and other nebulous factors.
The second serious change is the introduction of Twitter v1.1 API from March 5th, when a limited Twitter 1.0 shut off will be tested. I expect 1.1 will be rolled out over the weeks/months following the 5th, should 1.1 run smoothly.
1.1 will impact people using various Twitter tools. Some tools will have limits placed on the number of calls, Tweets, follows etc, which it can make in an hour. Some services in the Twitter eco-system may stop working.
The next few months will be interesting for all of us who have been amazed at the democratic and open nature of Twitter.
Here's some scenarios for what the above could lead to:
#Tweetstreams-as-ads that are dominated by paid for content, leading to a reduction in the appeal of Twitter.
#Censorship-of-Tweets. The ability of Twitter to remove all low value or "political/anti-establishment" tweets.
#Growth-stunting The elimination of free apps such as bufferapp.com, which allows users to automate the process of Tweeting. These services may be replaced with higher cost services, which some SMEs, writers and other home workers won't be able to afford.
The next few months will see the ground shifting for Twitter as it moves towards a stock market listing.
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