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  • sull 3:09 PM on February 15, 2011 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: , journalism, open, silos, , , web   

    Clash Of The Twitters 

    Some recent topics that are on my mind having to do with the Twitter Ecosystem might be worth getting out and on to my blog. So here it goes.

    “The Twitters” in my title refers to any service who has relied on Twitter (API, FireHose, Partnerships etc) and has evolved to the point where their own user base is significant enough to lift them out from a reliance on Twitter. They get into a position where they become their own competing realtime Info Network. The Twitters are typically companies that have revolved around their Twitter Client Software which is where many users interact with Twitter. It is this business that Twitter has been trying to kill slacken in order to control the user experience with consistent UI and of course to “control the flow”. Twitter continues to modify developer terms and tighten access to the pipes.

    Twitter purchased the most popular iOS Twitter Client (Twitter for iPhone) and released their own official Android app and they are working to improve upon the consistent user experience in the coming months. Meanwhile, It’s been interesting to watch how companies have been pivoting and strategizing in response to Twitter’s clamp-down. Some shift focus to the Enterprise market while others who have the resources gear up in a different way.

    UberMedia has been a significant player and most recently acquired TweetDeck, arguably the most popular Twitter Client independent of Twitter, Inc’s own apps. Now in order to evolve in this space and move forward, 3rd party companies will need to balance between partnerships and competition with Twitter. Their will likely be a tilt where we will see more emphasis on the competition side with more increased pricing by Twitter for access to their FireHose and smaller data stream options in addition to other entries into the Twitter product lines. But partnerships will of course still be in the mix. It may take a while before these companies play nice with each other though. It seems that we’re entering a fierce phase where small developers are certainly left in the dust and larger companies are shaken up… and those who remain afloat will be the fittest and best candidates for new partnership terms. Their are a few other companies that are probably worth mentioning but UberMedia seems to be the most relavant and agressive player right now. Just look at their site and see how many Twitter related products are a part of their line-up. Not to mention that it was born out of Bill Gross‘s IdeaLab.

    Obvious stuff, right? Monetization via ads is still the business at hand here. Sure, their is some experimentation and innovation and money-making outside of ads (most just different/new forms of ad units) but these companies are gearing up for the next revolution in the ad market… beyond what Google has done in Search….. Now it is the monetization of Social and News. When twitter charges for the FireHose, it’s not really to make money. They are weeding out solo developers, unfundables and dying startups. Likewise, their product offerings are all targeted to big pockets (for now). Business is Business. Way it is. Way it should be. Even when it doesn’t start out that way. Truth is, developers who latched on to twitter’s open API in any serious manner (starting a real business) had to do so while knowing the inevitable evolution of a successful mass-adopted service. If you expected an everlasting Utopia, then that’s your own fault.

    So what are we going to see happen next? Will we see a shift similar to the Myspace Fall and Facebook Rise in the next 3-5 years where Twitter loses its traction as one or two viable competing networks rises to the top? Will it inevitably be in the control of Mass Media Channels and which Darling Company they pick next and plaster all over their TV shows, newspapers, magazines, radio, apps, web etc? Would Twitter have risen as they have without the FREE promotion they received from the Celebrity Circle (not to mention the early adopters in the tech Industry)?. Either way, Twitter has enough money and traction to last more than five years at or near the top…. probably closer to ten years. Still, UberMedia and NewCos are out there and coming. And it will be very interesting to see the co-evolution of Social & News Info Networks.

    I can’t end without talking up the little guy. Yeah a little something called the Open Web. Quite vast and powerful as it is, it has been getting pushed aside in favor of focused centralized corporate efforts that can iterate and (re)invent and (re)innovate quickly and ruthlessly (dismissing most prior art, standards, and working groups etc in favor of proprietary (re)inventions with a sprinkling of patents on top). So what of the Open Web in context to all of this?

    The corporate machines involved are not necessarily evil. It can be argued that they in fact are needed in these times of unfathomable realtime data flow. Afterall, they are making huge infrastructure investments and taking on the risks needed in order to bring the masses useful and stable tools of and for the Global Infonet that we are all so jacked into. Still, serious efforts must go into more Open alternatives because Data Portability/Ownership are important issues not only to solo blogging journalist geeks but also to *some* Brands and Companies and Organizations. They want little or nothing to do with the Terms of Use of Corporate Silos that want to control the pipes or be influenced and controlled by governments, investors and shareholder interest. These DIYers may never make up the masses but that is never going to be the real point of this. Powerful voices are out there. Some of them realize that the tools and methodologies involved in self-publishing, socializing and hyper-distributing their content are well within their reach and comprehension. And I think even BigCo does (publicly) admit that a healthy Open Web is a good thing.

    And as always, Content Remains King. Wherever it lives.

  • sull 12:15 PM on December 6, 2010 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: oembed, open, ,   

    Bitter on Twitter 

    Twitter has frustrated me over the past several months. It’s not really a company I can root for anymore. I’ve been turned off by business decisions and their poor communication and transparency (in my opinion). It’s also very annoying when Twitter announces projects and several months later…. nothing is launched and barely a tweet update about them (i.e. Annotations, t.co url rewriting). But yeah I still use the damn service for the simple reality that its where everyone is at. But I am gradually losing interest in Twitter for certain usages such as social interaction and starting to just look at it as the pipeline of worldly noise that it is. Useful for dumpcasting links and headlines out into the digital ether to be crunched and consumed and lost in the stream.

    I’m no stranger to the DiY DiSo Federated Web Yadda Etcetera. And though I am not a true fan of WordPress, I’ve been too lazy to migrate this blog off of it since it works well enough. Just not crazy about what’s under the hood. Still, anything of relative importance gets published here first and cross-posted to Twitter. This simple fact is why I don’t see a reason to officially quit Twitter like some have done as statements. I can stop “using” Twitter but still cross-post to it. I own my content, have proper backup and control my digital presence. Twitter is just a way to scatter the bits no matter what, if any, value comes from it. Its automated and takes mere seconds. No bother.

    It’s also about the reliance of corporate entities that involve multiple investors looking for a payday. The Internet needs… no it requires an Open Infrastructure and Messaging Pipeline. It is obvious that modern society puts high value on Light-weight Messages distributed to the masses. Twitter is not the solution. It was the Wake-Up Call. The world needs an uncensored system for our inherent freedoms of speech. We are seeing the People’s Digital Landscape disappearing. Whether it is because of a corporation and its policies or government interference…. The People…. us ants… are going to be reduced to compliant narcissistic noise makers unless some serious attention and movement begins now. Otherwise, a schism will have to occur. The Darknets will grow.

    Bringing it back down… here is what got me on this train of thought this morning. A clip from this video by Robert Scoble interviewing the founder of LazyScope, an RSS + Twitter Air App. At 22:52 he mentions the Twitter limitation for Embedding 3rd party media on Twitter’s right-sidebar that isused for additional content. Twitter reserves this functionality for a set of ~16 Partners and have chosen to not communicate details on how to become a Content Partner. Twitter only provided an email address (contentpartnerships@twitter.com) which seems to be a black hole since multiple communication attempts over ~3 months have failed to return even an automated/canned response. Thanks Twitter! I’ve embedded the segment below where Instagram is mentioned as an example of how LazyScope is better since Twitter does not embed Instagram Photo links but LazyScope does. I suspect that Instagram will soon have the privilege but it remains a question as to how other projects/companies can get whitelisted by Twitter.

    UPDATE: Instagram now supported by Twitter – http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/07/twitter-instagram-rdio/

  • sull 10:59 PM on August 16, 2010 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: , federated, , open, , smtp, subaddressiing, , , webid   

    Fingerhook – A Webfinger Experiment 

    Recently, I was reading up on Webfinger again. It had been a while. In fact, all the topics I was studying in the summer of 2009 died down and this summer I have tried to refresh and stay updated on all the Federated ID and Social Networking Movement. In the past year, their has been a lot of effort and commitment by many talented people from start-ups and behemoths and people in between.

    I don’t want to speculate in this post where everything might be heading or delve into all the intricacies of “Open” and Federated Networking. This post is just to reference a quick experiment that I whipped up over the course of a few nights to express an idea that uses Webfinger, a Personal Web Discovery protocol that leverages IDs that are email addresses or at least look like email addresses (e.g. XMPP JID). Webfinger latches on to the belief that the email address resonates with people as their IDs more than URLs do. This is an interesting debate. I believe this is true but I also find it hard to believe that people can not eventually think of a domain/url, which typically would be their profile page of choice, as being their “ID”. A profile page should be synonymous with ID. And often is usable as an OpenID even if the user has no idea about what that means. So the problem is the state of Public Profiles and Federated IDs on the Interwebs. And Lock-in. Today, half a billion people have Facebook accounts. In 3 years, maybe that number will have dropped 30% or rather, maybe people who use Facebook do not use it as their trusted ID and instead depend on Google or some other service such as their own web host or domain registrar that has the capabilities built-in. So the URL as ID today is too unstable. And by this I mean the ID that people actually identify with being their ID. Now that was a weird sentence to write ;-)

    So today, a group of people have been driving the idea of Webfinger, based loosely on the original Finger protocol, to be the common technology today for Federated IDs and User Discovery. It is making email addresses “readable” by attaching public metadata to them using agreed upon standards (still being modified). The result is the ability to lookup email addresses to find out more about the person or company behind it.

    Ok, Back to my experiment. It is called Fingerhook. Or at least it is the first project/feature of Fingerhook. That depends on whether or not I continue to tinker in this area. I might want to host a Webfinger Profile/Cloud server and Fingerhook could be used for these other services. But for now, I will refer to Fingerhook as this experiment that i’m about to point to.


    Briefly, Fingerhook is a Webfinger Lookup Service that accepts requests via Email (SMTP) and auto-responds with results containing any discovered public metadata about the email address. In order to make this work, I experimented with what is called Subaddressing which is simply adding tags to an email address as a way to filter and organize messages. So, a subaddress is an extension of the primary address and you can have anbd use unlimited subaddresses as long as your service provider supports it. Typically a Subaddress uses the plus character (+) to segment/divide the local part of the address. Here is an example:


    The “+info” is added on to my actual email address (sulleleven@gmail.com).
    If you were to email this address, you should get an auto-response with my info form my Google public profile page. Feel free to try it.

    The way Fingerhook works is quite simple actually. This is not so much about the tech as it is about the idea that I wanted to express. And I felt that showing in addition to telling was appropriate so dedicated some spare time to setup this project and possibly further discuss with those interested in Webfinger.

    Over on Fingerhook.org, their is a blog with some screencasts published that demonstrate the experiment. So i’ll let that info on that site fill in the blanks and leave it at that. Feel free to comment here or over there or on the Webfinger mailing list – http://groups.google.com/group/webfinger.


  • sull 2:47 PM on August 17, 2009 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: open, , tr.im   

    tr.im goes open source as a community-owned url shortener – http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/trim_to_go_open_source_community_owned.php
    this idea was first encouraged by rp.ly

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