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

Store Twitter URLs in earth's oceans? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

EarthMike Wheeler: "how about embedding links etc in geodata? Each service gets a 1deg X 1deg area of ocean and uses the decimals for numeric metadata"

Brilliant. Wish I had thought of it. A great idea that illustrates how silly this situation is -- where links are treated as an afterthought. Links, which form the foundation of the web, are shortened, made more fragile, meaning removed, the web made slower. If Tim Berners-Lee weren't alive he'd be rolling over in his grave.

But what Mike says is actually slightly practical. Come up with a way to map domains to tiny plots of ocean space (presumably people can't occupy space in the ocean and 2/3 of the planet is covered with water). How many domains would that be? A lot. Can you estimate the actual number? Any help would be appreciated.

Then the numbers to the right of the decimal points would map to URLs on the site, the same way short URLs map to them. Each site would manage its own space. Voila! No need to include URLs in the 140 characters. Goodbye shorteners. Now all you have to do is get the client companies (and that includes, the largest client) to go along.

If it weren't so sad it would be funny. Maybe that's why it's so funny.

Come on Twitter -- Make room for the URL as metadata. It's way past too late.

If you wrote the words you own the copyright Permanent link to this item in the archive.

At Poynter Paul Bradshaw asks a question with an obvious answer.

Paul Bradshaw: In the E-mail Era, Who Owns the Interview?

Obviously the person who wrote the words owns the copyright. Fair use allows the reporter to quote them. I can't imagine a lawyer advising or a court deciding otherwise.

And of course this highlights the fact that a lot of people help reporters and news organizations, without any hope or expectation of compensation. It's funny that none of these people are mentioned in the sad pieces that wonder if the news industry has a future. And no one seems to see an even more interesting question -- in the age of blogs, do we still need reporters? (I think we do, but not as much as we used to.)

Why today's Twitter is like Napster in Y2K Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named santa.gifOne of the arguments for the music industry not suing Napster out of existence in 2000 was that they had all the music on the Internet under one roof. By deleting Napster, they forced music to shard into a million pieces, and then reform later as iTunes and Amazon and a myriad of Internet startups. If it had stayed in one place it would have been possible to build all kinds of community services that reached everyone on the Internet who loves music. That might have been very amazing.

If you believe, as I do, that Twitter is at least a dress rehearsal for the news system of the future, it's pretty clear we're at a Napster-like place now. Everyone has a name prefixed by an at-sign that takes you to their profile page. Twitter is, right now, the default identity system for the realtime message network. But that is changing very quickly.

Recently Facebook changed the meaning of at-sign to take you to your Facebook profile page. And on WordPress and Tumblr the at-sign will presumably take you to your home blog or profile page on either system. It's hard to imagine them defining it as your profile on Twitter. Technically it would be nearly impossible for them to do it. And politically, it's not very appealing.

A few years from now we may look back at the Twitter of 2009 as we now look back at the Napster of 2000 -- a time when there was a great opportunity to build, that was missed. In this case, it's the owners of Twitter who are missing the opportunity. They could now be defining the loosely-coupled version of Twitter, and let your home page on Twitter act as the glue that joins all the networks you belong to that link through your Twitter ID.

The address of my Tumblr profile page could be:

And my WordPress profile page would have this address:

And the implementation of the Twitter API on would have new features that make it easy for me to find other API implementors of networks that join together through my presence on Twitter.

There probably isn't enough time to architect this, but maybe there is. It's certainly worth thinking about.


Last update: Saturday, December 19, 2009 at 11:37 PM Pacific.

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~About the Author~

A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, 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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