Monday, October 6, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Are Twitter and Facebook silos?

Why they appear not to be silos

It's confusing because they both have APIs. Facebook even has outgoing RSS feeds.

Through the APIs I can post remotely, in fact, my new product Radio3 can post to both, along with WordPress and its own RSS feed.

So if both are all API'd-up, how could they be silos?

First a story

Jeff Bezos has an annual writer's conference. Until this year, no one but the writers knew about it, but because of the conflict Amazon is having with publishers, it came out.

Now get this, one author, Hugh Howey, is so cool, that because he supports Amazon in their battle with publishers, declined the coveted invitation this year, so he could support Amazon without the appearance that the support was bought.

He said, quoted in a NY Times piece:

"I asked not to be invited back this year, as I want to be able to speak my mind and not have any hint of a quid pro quo," he wrote in an email.

That is so cool and powerful.

To use their APIs, you are compromised

Both Twitter and Facebook can and will exercise their right to kick you off the system, for whatever reason, without explanation or warning. This means you try temper your criticism of them, if you make software that uses their APIs.

That's not a good thing. Software developers want to make decisions about the software based on what's good for users, not what will keep you from getting booted from the platform. It's analogous to doctors wanting to prescribe appropriate medication, not drugs pushed on them by the pharmaceuticals industry.

Further, in this day and age, everyone should blog. Now I know not everyone does, but I am and always will, as long as I'm breathing, be a blogger. It's just in my nature to say what I see. I'm not a quiet person.

So what if I think that Facebook did something shitty? Will I say it? Good question. Right now I have a filter. You have to assume that I won't say what I think about Facebook because I'm building software that depends on their continued approval. Same with Twitter. Either of them could shut me off in a moment, with no explanation. That is what they call a chilling effect, and it's why both are silos.

Freedom can't be partial

Either you're free or you're not. People who develop for platforms that are controlled by corporations are not free to say whatever they want. And freedom is an important part of not being a silo.

While Hugh Howey is brave, he still isn't free, btw, because Amazon is a silo too. I guess only the Internet is not a silo, which is what makes it so precious. It's the platform without a platform vendor and that's a big deal.

Last built: Sun, Mar 22, 2015 at 5:50 PM

By Dave Winer, Monday, October 6, 2014 at 9:56 AM. Shut up and eat your vegetables.