One foot on the platform…

There’s an old and wonderful Little Feat song.

Lowell George’s girlfriend can’t make up her mind. How he describes it is what’s so cool. “She’s got one foot on the platform, the other on the train.”

And that’s the best strategy, right now, for a reporter or blogger using Twitter.

You can’t get off the platform, that’s where everyone is. But you need a Plan B, just in case you have to get off the platform. That’s the train.

A picture named mindTheGap.gifYou need a tool that allows you to publish to Twitter, and at the same time publish to an open system that can be connected to other open systems. So a user can create their own Twitter, the same way they use Twitter to follow many sources, without having to go through Twitter.

Twitter is the platform. The feed is the train.

It might sound complicated, but it’s not.

If Twitter were to cancel my account, I would keep posting, and people who followed me on the train (following the analogy) would continue to get my updates. The people on the platform, however — would not.

It’s how we develop strength, and the power to choose, without leaving Twitter.

If Twitter Corp plans on being nice to us, then they should not have a problem with this approach. Their API permits it. It’s consistent with Dick Costolo’s edict that we should put stuff into Twitter, but not take stuff out of it.

It’s a way to preserve journalistic integrity even if Twitter hasn’t yet figured out if it’s in the business of providing a platform for journalism.

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About Dave Winer

Dave 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.
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