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How Twitter is not simple

Tuesday, June 02, 2009 by Dave Winer.

A picture named adjusted.gifEarly-on in the life of Twitter I tried to figure out how it works behind the user interface, and was told I couldn't, that it was very complex, and I shouldn't try. This bothered me then, and it bothers me even more now. After all, I'm an experienced software engineer, with a number of products under my belt, some quite complex. If I can't understand it, who can? And if they say I can't, do they? Permalink to this paragraph

We know the networks we're building on Twitter are very fragile things, but they're more fragile than most users have been willing to comprehend, because we can't find out how it works. We have to trust that the company knows, and that they will continue to operate it as they have in the past. However we don't have any right to that service, and if they restricted it or took it away we would have no recourse.  Permalink to this paragraph

Of course it would be a disaster for them as a company, but such disasters have happened before and they certainly will happen again. And what do we actually know about the people who run Twitter? Not all that much. They don't tweet a lot, and when they do, they tend to be short messages, and often cryptic. Permalink to this paragraph

So while Twitter is useful and fascinating, even intriguing, is it simple?  Permalink to this paragraph

It it not simple. Permalink to this paragraph

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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, 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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