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How to decouple from Twitter, now

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 by Dave Winer.

Twitter is still out.  Permalink to this paragraph

Mike Arrington posits that because they have a monopoly there is no reason for them to hurry to get back online. I agree. That's why we have to break the monopoly now.  Permalink to this paragraph

And it's not as dire as it may seem, esp for people who use a desktop client.  Permalink to this paragraph

Here's what the developers of these products can do to make users safe from Twitter outages: Offer users the option to have their stream of outbound tweets saved as an RSS feed that can be read by FriendFeed and other RSS-based tools, in addition to posting directly to Twitter. Permalink to this paragraph

Then, the user can do what I did in FriendFeed, point it to the RSS feed, and turn off FriendFeed's connection to Twitter.  Permalink to this paragraph

In FriendFeed, everyone will still see your updates though a little more slowly. And when Twitter goes down, everyone who cares about your updates can switch over to FriendFeed, perhaps temporarily. That's what Scoble is recommending. Permalink to this paragraph

I think FriendFeed should deliberately try to appeal to Twitter users, by reorganizing their UI to be familiar to us, but so far they haven't wanted to do that. However, at some point, some ambitious entrepreneur is going to want to compete with Twitter directly, and all they'll have to do is latch onto our RSS feeds and voila, you don't need Twitter to be up to have the same effect as Twitter. (Is anyone out there ready to go? This would be a fantastic week to launch.) Permalink to this paragraph

The only way this bootstrap can happen is if Twitter is down for an extended period while important stuff is going on. Well today is the long-awaited Pennsylvania primary, and the Web 2.0 expo is happening this week in SF. How will we manage without Twitter? Necessity is the mother of invention, imho. ;-> Permalink to this paragraph

I'd encourage the people who make the desktop tools to get on this right away. If developers want to discuss it here, I'll be online through the day (and grasping for whatever returns are coming in from PA).  Permalink to this paragraph


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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.

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

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