The pursuit of stickiness: Twitter debuts in-app image galleries

Twitter has launched its own “user galleries” to aggregate all the images users have uploaded into their tweets in one place, right on their profile pages. It’s the latest in a series of recent feature launches apparently aimed at increasing Twitter’s “stickiness” factor, the all-important quality that keeps users clicking around within an application and makes them visit more often.

The feature, which will roll out to all Twitter users starting Monday, automatically pulls in all the images that a user has posted to his or her tweets, whether they’re from Twitter’s native photo-sharing feature or third-party apps such as yFrog, TwitPic, Instagram and others. Twitter’s user galleries display up to 100 of the most recent images a user has added to their tweets from January 1, 2010 onward. The galleries will appear on the right-hand side of each Twitter user’s profile page (click image to enlarge):

Like many of Twitter’s latest feature additions, the user gallery launch is both good news and bad news. The good news is that the galleries should be positively received by users, as it ties in all the photos associated with each Twitter account with their respective profile pages. No more having to open another website such as yFrog to scroll through someone’s Twitter-related photo collection.

But on the other hand, bringing all these photos into Twitter could be a big blow to the traffic — and ultimately, revenue — seen by those third-party apps. Twitter has drawn criticism from the developer community for effectively “bulldozing” the ecosystem that sprung up around it when it was a more single-purpose micro-blogging site. With its recent forays into photo sharing, Twitter is now threatening the very third-party businesses it originally inspired.

But then again, Twitter is ultimately a business. And as a company with serious venture capital backing and a reported valuation of $7 billion, Twitter’s strategy will be increasingly aimed at benefiting itself — and its investors — above all others.