May 5, 2008

We Hurt the Ones We Love the Most

I don't Twitter but its an interesting technology, and so is this rumination on whether or not it may have to die to live - a dilemma that I think will become increasingly common with technologies emerging under this model (Free blog post idea: Twitter as tragic hero):
Is Twitter too important to be left in the hands of Twitter? That's the argument that bubbled up over the weekend. The argument is that Twitter is not distributed. This means that if Twitter goes down no one can Twitter. It also means if Twitter goes out of business, or just screws up, we could lose all of our tweet history.

. . . . It is entirely possible that before Twitter makes its first penny, it will become too important to exist in its current form, and the community will feel it has to be replaced by an open source, distributed framework. This should strike fear into the hearts of anyone who decides open their API. While the Open API strategy has clearly sped up adoption, it may have worked too well. In fact, it may have worked so well that Twitter may be killed before it ever makes it out of the womb -- by people who love it.

. . . . The lesson from all of this may be that communications apps can't live without an open API, But they can't live with them, either. Of course I have been skeptical that any communication app can make money, and particularly Twitter, but I could not envision that they would and could be undermined as a platform like this. It is truly astonishing to watch.

I'm curious too as to whether or not (when?) such a circumstance would begin to impact innovation, or at the very least drive it back under the proprietary umbrella.

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