Home > Archive >  2008 >  January >  16

A decentralized Twitter?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 by Dave Winer.

A picture named water.jpgAndrew Baron is a smart guy, and he's not a techy, so when he explains technical issues he does it in a way non-technical people can understand.  Permalink to this paragraph

Dembot: "If you hosted your own Twitter, just like you host your own website, you could put your twitter anywhere." Permalink to this paragraph

Twitter is doing us a service, with its lack of stability, in illustrating the dangers of centralized systems. We do need to figure out how to build a Twitter-like system with all the advantages of centralization and none of the disadvantages. Permalink to this paragraph

And like Andrew, intuitively, it seems to me we could do it with RSS. Of course RSS is not very nice to edit by hand, so a little bit of software would be needed to handle the editing. We would also need a place to store our RSS (easy and cheap), and a discovery mechanism, but none of this is impossible or even very hard, considering that Twitter already exists. If it didn't, discovery would be a mess. Because it does, discovery would just be inconvenient, and would require foresight -- the kind of foresight that tells you to keep a bunch of bottled water in the garage so you won't die when there's a big earthquake. You do have bottled water in the garage? ;-> Permalink to this paragraph

The problem is, of course, when Twitter goes down, it's too late to use Twitter to bootstrap the decentralized Twitter-like system. Heh. Just like after the earthquake it's too late to go to Safeway and buy a crate of Aquafina. Permalink to this paragraph

Larry Dignan: "Twitter is a classic case of a neat little tool that wasn't built to scale but now has to because it has become a big deal." Permalink to this paragraph


Recent stories:

A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, 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.

Dave Winer Mailto icon

My most recent trivia on Twitter.

I'm a California voter for Obama.

© Copyright 1994-2008 Dave Winer Mailto icon.

Last update: 10/20/2008; 8:22:33 AM Pacific. "It's even worse than it appears."

Click here to view blogs commenting on  RSS 2.0 feed.