Facebook's first steps
Wednesday, August 15, 2007 by Dave Winer.
While I applaud their first steps at exposing previously trapped data, they still have a long way to go. Fred Wilson, a user of and investor in Twitter, says he'll feel Facebook is open when he can use Twitter to update his Facebook status. It may require an agent to bridge the two systems, there doesn't seem to be much hope that they'll support identical APIs (though it's not too late for that), and at this time Facebook doesn't provide enough in the way of APIs to do this (please correct if wrong) while Twitter does.
There would be hope for a lot more compatibility if engineers weren't such jealous folk, and weren't so inclined to reinvent what already has been invented. The guys at Twitter do it, as do the guys at Facebook. It's seems to happen where ever there is expertise, a tendency to lock up power in the hands of the experts and not share it with competitors and smart users. I saw this happen in the medical industry, recently, where a friend who is not a doctor had an absolutely brilliant idea that would save lives, but he couldn't sell it to the medical profession. Why? It would create more work for them. These are the people we trust with our lives. And having been in the software business for over 30 years, I'm sad to report, we're no better.
So maybe Facebook is filled with visionaries who want to build on the work of others, but I'm pretty sure there are also people there who would be happy to hold things back so they don't have to work so hard. But don't worry, they have them at Google, and Yahoo, and Microsoft and Apple too. It's just the way things are done in the tech world. Ths isn't going to make me a lot of friends (something my friend Fred Wilson says he blogs for) but that's not why I blog.