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Plan B

Friday, June 06, 2008 by Dave Winer.

On May 22, I wrote: "I must have a Plan B, because I intend to build a business that depends on this service." Permalink to this paragraph

I was referring to Twitter, and the business is NewsJunk.comPermalink to this paragraph

Rafe Needleman takes it a step further, suggesting today that Twitter shut down completely until it's ready to provide reliable service.  Permalink to this paragraph

He talks about what we're all seeing, the upward momentum is gone, the new idea every 24 hours that so inspired us is a distant memory. Now we're going the other way. When I log onto Twitter these days, it's empty, quiet, a ghost town.  Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named sawyer.gifPeople wondered what would replace it. It's becoming clear the answer to that is the worst possible one -- nothing. The energy of Twitter is evaporating. Which is terrible, because it replaced decentralized systems built around our blogs, which are now quiet, they sleep with Twitter. It was a bad deal.  Permalink to this paragraph

The lesson we keep learning, over and over, is that centralized systems don't work. If they get wildly popular as Twitter did, they break, as Twitter did. Permalink to this paragraph

FriendFeed is not Plan B, however it has turned into the place where people congregate to discuss the need for a Plan B.  Permalink to this paragraph

Meanwhile the culture of Silicon Valley prevents people from saying anything negative about their friends. It prevents people who could take first steps toward routing around the outage to route around it. Where are the architects with guts? I don't think they use Twitter.  Permalink to this paragraph

I've proposed in a back-channel that Twitter (the company) reconceive itself as a directory, patterened after Network Solutions, that facilitates a federation of Twitter competitors, so lots of different approaches can be tried out. I still think this is the only workable way to bootstrap a much bigger more robust network.  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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