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Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

Twitter is at least a dress rehearsal Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Au bon pain -- Harvard SqI read Farhad Manjoo's piece in Slate about Twitter. It's the best of a class of commentary that says that Twitter is something you can skip if you aren't interested in periodic 140-character reports on mundane people's lives. As I read the piece it made sense, so I was left wondering why I was and still am attracted to Twitter and use it, daily.

When I took a picture of the shark tank at the NY Aquarium, or the Cyclone at Coney Island or the traffic on the Belt Parkway, I had a background script on my server that automatically published a pointer to each picture to Twitter. I feel the pictures are more interesting because people see them while I'm still there. It's a very small window into my mundane life. I post them not because I think anyone cares about my life, rather because I want to see what ideas it gives me for next steps.

In a way, as a user of Twitter, I have the same business model as the investors in Twitter. I don't know what it is, but I have a feeling there's something here. I look at it this way, if you tried to tell me what we're doing on Twitter has nothing to do with what we'll be doing with networks in the future, I'd be 100 percent sure you were wrong. There's something here. The challenge is to figure out what it is.

However increasingly I'm sure that Twitter itself is not it.

If it were, by now we'd see one killer app built on Twitter that was as game-changing as Twitter itself, if not more so. I think this is because they have put limits on what developers can do, trying to save the good stuff for themselves. The danger in doing that is that you leave nothing juicy for developers. And you leave the door open for a competitor who will take advantage.

Things I'd like to see -- unlimited, open architecture metadata hanging off the 140-character messages, payloads for Twitter. And open access to the firehose by anyone who wants to develop on it. Both these things would guarantee Twitter, Inc. a role in the future. Without giving up control of both, they leave opportunities for others and make it more likely they will be a stepping-stone.

BTW, I was able to finish this post on my 1000HE on the Jetblue flight while it was waiting at the gate. The free wifi from the terminal is strong enough to be accessible on the plane. It's amazing how quickly you can write when you're under deadline! ;->

Update: Early-on I compared Twitter to a coral reef. I think the analogy is more apt than ever.

Update: An example of a competitor completing the promise of a disrupter: Netscape's browser was only sort-of free. They looked the other way when people downloaded it without paying for it. When Microsoft came out with their browser it was totally free. Netscape's complaint that this was unfair rang hollow.

Marc Canter's vision/nightmare come true Permanent link to this item in the archive.

15 years ago Marc Canter was a cashed out ex-founder of a Kleiner Perkins startup, rushing through his money in the lifestyle of a rich and famous rock star Hollywood movie mogul. It was a huge bonfire, built around a spectacular vision of commercialism, entertainment, network technology and physical venues like bars, football stadiums, bowling alleys and restaurants.

Marc turned his house on Potrero Hill into a demo for his vision.

I'm writing this from the JetBlue terminal at JFK which is a total realization of the vision. And I totally hate it!

In front of me is a HD video screen I'm trying hard to ignore, but it won't let me. All around me are similar screens with people sitting around them trying to ignore them. Hanging off the ceiling everywhere are more HD screens showing sports, news, commercials, schedules announcements. Off in the distance is a ruckus of a central hallway, total confusion, people unable to figure out even the most basic things like how to get a coffee and blueberry muffin. I don't dare go into the men's room!

On the monitor in front of me is one of Marc's favorite ideas. I can swipe my credit card and go to a menu where I can choose from all kinds of food that they will bring right to where I'm sitting. I didn't try it.

In a few months I'll probably love this place, but right now -- I'm Mr. Luddite. Give me a plain Jane terminal anyday! ;->

Update: On the other hand, one thing everyone who reads this blog will appreciate -- free wifi, and it's good.


Last update: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 11:33 AM Pacific.

A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

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