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What to Expect at Twitter's Developer Conference: Polls! Embeds! Data!

Jack Dorsey speaks to the developer faithful for the first time since being named permanent CEO.

Kurt Wagner

Twitter’s insanely busy month is getting even busier.

Just two weeks after bringing on a new permanent CEO and one week before its Q3 earnings, Twitter is set to host its second annual mobile developer conference, Flight, in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Last year, Twitter rolled out Fabric, a collection of software products that made it easier for mobile app developers to add services into their apps, such as monitoring app crashes or publishing ads. It was a signal that Twitter was serious about mobile developer services, a category Facebook and Google had already invested in.

But as Twitter has struggled with a slower-growing user base over the past year, it has been preaching a different message: It wants more Twitter content in more places that aren’t Twitter, including television broadcasts and third-party apps.

Expect to hear that message trumpeted loud and clear once again on Wednesday. Plus, newly appointed CEO Jack Dorsey is set to give the keynote, the first time he has spoken publicly in this iteration of the role outside of a small advertising event in New York City earlier this month.

What, specifically, should you expect? Here are a few things to look for.

More Embedded Tweets

Twitter launched a set of tools last year to make it easier for third-party apps to embed tweets. The company plans to push that concept again this year, according to sources, encouraging more developers to put Twitter content into their apps.

This would be a huge benefit to Twitter, which has long argued that its value is tied to how many people actually consume Twitter content, not just those with an active account. The more developers put tweets into their apps, the larger Twitter’s audience grows. The company has made money from this audience in the past by putting promoted tweets on third-party apps like Flipboard, but that practice isn’t widespread. Expanding that test would be big news if Twitter decides to do so on Wednesday.

More Gnip

Much like Facebook, Twitter thinks it has some of the best data on the Internet. In April, it stopped letting other partners in North America license that data directly from them so that Gnip — the data reseller that Twitter bought last year — would be the go-to provider. Now, it’s ready to talk more about Gnip, according to sources, and how marketers can use Twitter data will be a big part of the presentation. Twitter is still trying to teach marketers how to advertise on Twitter, so making its data easier to understand and access will be a key moving forward.

Vote or Die!

Twitter didn’t launch any big consumer updates last year, but this year it has something small coming down the pike: Polls. Twitter started testing a new polling feature in late September that allowed a small set of users to pose a question to their followers and collect responses over a 24-hour period. That polling feature will be rolled out more widely, according to sources. The purpose, of course, is to get people tweeting more often and get others more engaged (i.e., voting).

What You Won’t See

A platform for Twitter’s private messaging feature, Direct Messages, akin to what Facebook launched for Messenger at its annual developer conference earlier this year. Twitter product boss Kevin Weil said at Re/code’s Code/Mobile conference earlier this month that the company is working on letting third-party apps build onto Twitter’s DM offering. “We have some really cool ideas on that front, some really Twitter-specific ideas,” he said at the conference. “We’re going to have some stuff soon, so stay tuned.” Apparently not too soon, though. Sources say that Twitter will not launch a platform for Twitter DMs Wednesday.

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