Is tweeting still silo’d?

It’s good that Twitter is learning a lot from its experience in the last day. It’s not good that tweeting, which most of us treat as something inherently public and non-proprietary, such as blogging and emailing, seems to be privately controlled, with one company in the sole responsible position. Sez Biz at that last link,

The problem with the setting was that it didn’t scale and even if we rebuilt it, the feature was blunt. It was confusing and caused a sense of inconsistency. We felt we could do much better.

So here’s what we’re planning to do. First, we’re making a change such that any updates beginning with @username (that are not explicitly created by clicking on the reply icon) will be seen by everyone following that account. This will bring back some serendipity and discovery and we can do this very soon.

Second, we’ve started designing a new feature which will give folks far more control over what they see from the accounts they follow. This will be a per-user setting and it will take a bit longer to put together but not too long and we’re already working on it. Thanks for all the great feedback and thanks for helping us discover what’s important!

Here’s what’s important: tweeting needs to a standard convention that’s NEA: Nobody owns it, Everybody can use it, and Anybody can improve it. Like blogging, texting and emailing.

Maybe it’s already there — meaning that implemented Web, Net and Phone standards, plus the API, take care of business. Maybe Twitter’s mashability with other services is “open enough.” Maybe the fact that I can use gwibber or Thwirl to access multiple microblogging services covers enough bases.

Certainly Twitter is carrying the tweeting world on its shoulders for two reasons: 1) they invented it; and 2) they have the best and most widely used tweeting service out there. And maybe Twitter isn’t running a walled garden, but just a service that makes it easy for tweeters to operate in a wide open tweeting environment.

But I’m not sure. If implements a cool new wide-open functionality in that’s good for everybody, in an NEA way, will Twitter adopt it? Maybe that’s the test.

(And has it already happened? I don’t know. If so, fill me in.)

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  1. william’s avatar

    Closed source companies like twitter, facebook, myspace, and frindfeed do not have to listen to what the users that generate value for them say. This is because you, the user that have given your content and helped put money in the closed source companies pockets own nothing…Not even the content that you have added to their silos….Try to easliy export your content to test this out….Becuase you, the closed source application user does not have any ownership of the application, the “owners” can do what they want….And becuase the twitter application is closed source, the owners never fear the possiblity that you might create your own version with the fetaures that you want. You might not do this, but I beleive the fact that you could would have a dramatic effect on the how companies treated the users that haven given them their billion dollar valuations.

    Closed source applications like twitter, facebook, myspace, and frindfeed by their nature assume that you, the user are a stupid child like slave that needs to be told what is good for you. Closed source companies like twitter, facbook, myspace, and frindfeed by their nature create the framework of a share cropping system where you, the user/content creator; work their fields, and obediently follow their rules.

  2. Rick Bucich’s avatar

    While somewhat in a silo, we’ve seen users at both Facebook and Twitter rebel recently and this has altered the behavior of both companies, opening them to more feedback from users. They may become even more open if the market demands it but at this point, that has not been the case. If another entity were to challenge their superiority that might change. In the case of Friendfeed, I see is symbiotic to Twitter so not a threat. While some changes have been somewhat arbitrary, they openly embraced feedback and provide easy access to do so so their functionality mirrors the needs of the users, not the other way around.

  3. Kathy’s avatar

    To William and Rick … please help me understand how you lump Facebook and Twitter into the same “closed” environments.

  4. perusio’s avatar

    Twitter and facebook are different, yes they are. There’s plenty of things built on top of its API. Also the idea of not having ads is really nice.

    Furthermore twitter is open by default, i.e., the timeline is open to the public by default.

    I think that has already a feature that twitter lacks. The possibility of creating groups. You refer to a group by prefixing its name with a ‘!’. For example, suppose there’s a group called projectvrm. You could write.

    “Just updated the !projectvrm wiki with new information.”

    This way all people subscribed to the group would get the message. I think it’s a great feature. In enhances discoverability of people that share similar, or not so similar, interests. Also it embeds the metadata in the stream in a much more nice way than in twitter with hashtags.

    Anyway I think that twitter has much to gain if they open their code.
    There’s a all lot of people out there that would like to make the microblogging experience twitter provides richer.

  5. Don Marti’s avatar

    I just “tweet” to both Twitter and to — one more HTTP POST to update both services. Somebody starts another microblog, I’ll grab “dmarti” there too.

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