I want a hackable Twitter

We desperately need a hackable Twitter. We’re being so totally held back by their very narrow business model.

Another tweet from earlier today, expanded into a blog post.

I get so many ideas for things I could add on to Twitter. Ways to improve discourse. So many things could work on Twitter that don’t. Twitter has been stuck for years, and have actually taken big steps backwards.

This is the story of computers as a business. Something great happens, then it gets foreclosed on by a business model. Energy builds up behind the dam, and boom — forward motion! All the things that were waiting to happen happen all at once. Just when you think it can’t happen, it happens.

And no, it’s not any of the startups that have tried to do what Twitter does with fewer developer constraints. Many of them have revocable openness. After the experience with Twitter, I’m going to assume that once you gain momentum, you’re going to want to control the whole market, as Twitter did.

None of the open source Twitter replacements have been compelling enough to attract users. Sorry, it’s not justice that determines whether a platform gets traction.

I’m not moralizing here, or calling anyone to action, just noticing something. I get tons of ideas that I can’t act on. I’ve seen this happen before. I’m optimistic that it will break. I don’t know how or when.


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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