Thought du jour

The Net is a way to work around the silos that substitute for it.

This came to me after seeing “Twitter is over capacity.” for the Nth time.

Twitter will be better off when it’s the best of its own breed, rather than the only place to do what can only be done there.

That’s why questions like Dave’s are essential.

Not saying that exclusivity, or exclusive advantages, are wrong and should not be rewarded. I am saying that walled gardens are inherently inadequate in a networked world.

Twitter is a terrific tool that needs to be just as open at the back end as Dave wants it to be at the front. Not sure how to do that, but I am sure it needs to be done.


  1. Dave Winer’s avatar

    An open source client will enable multiple back-ends, transparent for the users.

  2. david cushman’s avatar

    What we need is a way to share our metadata without silos, so we can better connect around shared, right now, purpose. IMHO, of course.

  3. tk’s avatar

    COMPETITION IS THE BEST INCENTIVE, who will set up shop and enter the fray?

  4. Mike Warot’s avatar

    It continues to amaze me that a flow of about 10 tweets/second is too much for twitter to handle. It’s obvious that they need a complete redesign of their architecture from one based on an overworked RDBMS to one based on message queues and a small cluster of UI engines on the outskirts.
    I think it would be a cool idea to have someone sponsor a contest to see who could come up with a twitter core replacement. You’d have to be able to sustain traffic rates of at least 10 tweets/second at the core just to be able to enter the contest. I’d be willing to bet that someone could figure out how to get at least 1000 times flow as a core router, with the UI boxes handling at least 100 simultaneous users.
    It’s not rocket science, but it does need computer science.

  5. mikepk’s avatar

    We actually considered open sourcing a version of our technology (grazr) for doing Twitter-like things. We serve several million feeds per month based on reading lists (opml) as well as “streams” (merged river-of-news like feeds) that we do with sub second response times (when properly tuned, we’re in the middle of some mods right now slowing it down).

    Not to toot our own horn, but we do all of that with the contents of the feeds (a lot more than 140 characters), so the amounts of data we handle is at least an order of magnitude higher than Twitter (according to my back of the envelope calculations). So yes, it’s clearly a solvable problem.

    We decided not to pursue this path though because we assumed Twitter would get it’s act together and that its userbase and general user loyalty would allow it to weather this current storm. That may have been a faulty assumption, I’m not so sure it’s going to survive after seeing how badly it’s been falling over lately.

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