Over the Halloween weekend, while Earth’s population of ghosts, ghouls and Justin Bieber lookalikes skyrocketed before (thankfully) subsiding, the folks at Twitter were busy with a dress-up of their own. But instead of fake blood and mascara, they played around with the new Twitter trademark guidelines, an online document that has seen multiple revisions since Friday, as lawyers and marketers scramble to make sense of it.
WHAT IS IT
The guidelines are a list of do’s and don’ts on how to use various Twitter trademarks, such as the phrase “Follow me/us on Twitter”, the brand name, logos, buttons and icons. If you’re a fan of trivia, for instance, you’ll be delighted to know that the words Twitter and Tweet should be capitalised, even though “google” entered the English dictionary as a verb not too long ago, albeit with some objection.
But it’s not just seemingly trivial stuff. A rule that disallows the word “Tweet” from being used in other application names affects apps like Tweetdeck, a third-party Twitter client. We’ll have to wait to see how this particular story plays out.
WHY THE NEW GUIDELINES?
Simply put, Twitter’s growing up. As this GigaOm article puts it, “[W]hen you have 175 million users and over $150 million in venture financing (and a $1-billion market value), you have to start getting serious.”
A sleeker logo may not increase your market value, but trying to wrangle back control over your scattered–and in some instances, bastardised–brand identity over the interwebs does suggest that Twitter is actively seeking to get its house in order.
Going on the basis of credibility, Twitter says: “It’s important for users to be able to trust Twitter and not be confused about our relationship with the many people and organisations who use our marks.” Um… okay, if you say so, Twitter.
HOW THIS IMPACTS BRANDS
Web designers, agencies and marketers should take some time to go through the new guidelines. Although they don’t explicitly say that anyone will be sued for misuse of Twitter’s trademarks, brands should, as much as possible, respect the new rules–some of which we may have taken for granted previously.
I’ve noticed that the iconic small letter “t” isn’t available in the official button set anymore. I’m not sure if this will change or be updated in time. I’ve seen sites use the small “t” icon interchangeably for sharing and following (which I’ve found confusing), so I personally hope that now, sites will clearly distinguish between both actions by using the correct buttons.
Such as the one below ›