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Facebook and Twitter, OpenID

Saturday, February 07, 2009 by Dave Winer.

A picture named accordion.gifThere was some really interesting news yesterday about Facebook opening up their model so that status updates can flow in and out of their sandbox through their API. A lot of people who are familiar with programming Facebook (I'm not) say this will open Facebook to the same kinds of apps that have been developed around Twitter, which has always had this kind of API. Permalink to this paragraph

Immediately I felt drawn to know more about how Facebook works, for the first time. I've been happy writting Twitter apps and FriendFeed apps. But a lot more people use Facebook, and as we know and have said many times, the important thing is where the people are. Permalink to this paragraph

The best post I've read so far on the politics between Twitter and Facebook was written by Marc Canter. I laughed out loud a few times while reading it, it's that good. I don't think they're laughing about it at Twitter headquarters. But I also don't think it's in any way over, as some do. Techno-political chess matches are rarely finished after the first few moves, it usually takes a number of rounds, backs and forths, before you can develop a theory about the outcome, and even then it's hard to knock momentum. One of my investors once said, when Apple was just a $1 billion company in 1983, that "Billion dollar companies don't just disappear."  Permalink to this paragraph

Okay, Twitter is a $0 billion company, but that's not the point, they've got a lot of momentum, a lot -- and it's not going to disipate because of a technical innovation at Facebook. It's going to take more than that. And in the meantime, it certainly means that Twitter will be more attentive to its partners and developers, and perhaps be a bit more aggressive with feature rollouts (It's been sitting on a lot of new features for a long time, imho). Permalink to this paragraph

I called Marc to congratulate him on his piece, and asked about the meeting at Facebook next week about OpenID, and he said something I was afraid of -- it's invite-only. Which means they're screwing around, both Facebook and especially the OpenID people. You can't have invite-only meetings about open standards. It's not at all a small thing. I strongly recommend that the meeting be held outside of Facebook, that they be made totally welcome to participate, and that everyone else who's interested be welcome as well.  Permalink to this paragraph

OpenID has come a long way and as far as I know has always been a level playing field. I've seen people trying to have private meetings about SOAP and RSS, and I always put my foot down and said no, and blew the whistle publicly if I needed to. It's time for the leaders of OpenID to defend the open-ness of their work. You can't have invite-only meetings about open protocols. And there can't be any exceptions to that. Permalink to this paragraph

Update: "Because we want to keep it small and focused, the event is invite-only." 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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