Twitter as coral reef
Saturday, April 28, 2007 by Dave Winer.
Here's how the story goes. Scattered throughout tropical seas are coral reefs that started when a ship sank and sea creatures made it their home. Then the predators of those creatures started hanging out, and their predators, all the way up the food chain. Eventually, if the ocean climate was right, a coral reef would appear, much larger than the wrecked ship that started it all.
It's a little sad for the ship, to be devoured this way. I know how it feels, Radio 8 is hardly used anymore, although I think it's a great piece of software, it got consumed in the flames of people who didn't like RSS, but despite their protests, the coral reef did show up, and now RSS has become a thriving ecosystem.
When I develop something new these days, I automatically think of using Twitter as a back-end to connect users of my software. If other developers aren't doing this, I imagine they will soon. And Twitter will beget competitors, and they will have to have APIs if they want to be competitive (Twitter has one) and by now I think they'll have to be compatible with Twitter's to be taken seriously.
The role that Twitter is playing is a vital one -- it's a notification system, always-up, and keeping it up is someone else's problem. As a system designer, I'd like to believe that Twitter or something like it will always be there. I'm not sure of that yet, but it seems we're close.
I know Microsoft is rolling out the red carpet for them in Las Vegas next week. Not sure I like that, or if I would like it if I were Twitter's owners, I'm suspicious of Microsoft's embrace, after lots of experience. But for me, there's really not much risk, even if MS were to try to eat their lunch, as I said, they'd have to be compatible, right?? We'll have to ask Ray about that.