An imbalance with Twitter
Wednesday, April 04, 2007 by Dave Winer.
When Twitter was new, "friendship" required agreement, it was a two-way thing, I couldn't subscribe to you unless you agreed to subscribe to me. This is the normal behavior for social networks, and something like instant message buddy lists, even mail lists. I learned this from listening to the Calacanis interview with Evan Williams.
Somewhere along the way they made a fundamental change, breaking that link. You could subscribe to anyone, without permission, and with no obligation on their part to subscribe to you. This creates imbalances, and makes Twitter like RSS and the blogosphere. Or like publishing anywhere. I might read the Chicago Tribune, but there's no requirement that every columnist has to read this weblog.
So when I ask a question on Twitter, someone who's "following" me might not be able to communicate to me through Twitter, because I might not be following them. You can see this in MD's post, on his blog, where he laments that he had his "first taste of frustration with one-way friendships on Twitter" when I asked my questions. He had answers, but he thought, no way to communicate them.
However, I saw his answers anyway, despite his certainty that I wouldn't. How?
Well, like a lot of other Twitterers, I have a blog, and I use Technorati to see who's talking about my blog. He did a smart thing by pointing to my blog, and he must have pinged Technorati, because his post showed up there shortly after I posted my questions on Twitter, and I saw it, in time for his knowledge to make a difference.
He could have also gone to my account page on Twitter, seen that I have a blog, click on the link, find the comments, and post there.
The point? All these tools integrate and mix. Twitter adds something new and useful, but the other tools don't become less important because of it.