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Inching toward federation

Thursday, July 24, 2008 by Dave Winer.

I have a problem that a lot more people are having.  Permalink to this paragraph

I use three "micro-blogging" platforms. Permalink to this paragraph

1. Twitter Permalink to this paragraph

2. FriendFeed Permalink to this paragraph

3. Identi.ca Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named lecter.jpgEach has strengths. FriendFeed can thread a discussion under each mini-post. It works better for me than the discussions on Twitter. Twitter is still where most of the people are, but -- well you know the rest. It's become unreliable. Leave it at that. And while Identi.ca has fewer of the people I care about, it's catching up, and its commitment to be open, and the fact that I can get Evan on the phone and he's easy to work with, well that makes me want to invest in it. Permalink to this paragraph

So in my mind, as of July 2008, Twitter is waning, Identi.ca is rising and FriendFeed is useful.  Permalink to this paragraph

But using three systems presents a problem to which no one knows the solution. When I post on one of these systems, should the other two get the post too, and if so, how?  Permalink to this paragraph

Right now, today I'm using an approximation to the ideal system. I try to enter my original post on FriendFeed, then I have an agent script running on one of my machines that routes it to Twitter and Identi.ca, with a pointer to the discussion thread on FriendFeed, shortened by bit.ly. Permalink to this paragraph

But this is temporary, it's not the last word in how this will work. Somewhere in here is nirvana, a system that makes sense, that makes it possible for people who base their work on one system to communicate effortlessly with people who base their work elsewhere. When we reach this nirvana, we will have the federated network of micro-blogging systems. To the extent that we're confused about this, and we are, is the extent that we're not ready yet to say what federation means in micro-blogging. 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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