Scripting News for 6/6/2008

Plan B 

On May 22, I wrote: “I must have a Plan B, because I intend to build a business that depends on this service.”

I was referring to Twitter, and the business is NewsJunk.com.

Rafe Needleman takes it a step further, suggesting today that Twitter shut down completely until it’s ready to provide reliable service.

He talks about what we’re all seeing, the upward momentum is gone, the new idea every 24 hours that so inspired us is a distant memory. Now we’re going the other way. When I log onto Twitter these days, it’s empty, quiet, a ghost town.

People wondered what would replace it. It’s becoming clear the answer to that is the worst possible one — nothing. The energy of Twitter is evaporating. Which is terrible, because it replaced decentralized systems built around our blogs, which are now quiet, they sleep with Twitter. It was a bad deal.

The lesson we keep learning, over and over, is that centralized systems don’t work. If they get wildly popular as Twitter did, they break, as Twitter did.

FriendFeed is not Plan B, however it has turned into the place where people congregate to discuss the need for a Plan B.

Meanwhile the culture of Silicon Valley prevents people from saying anything negative about their friends. It prevents people who could take first steps toward routing around the outage to route around it. Where are the architects with guts? I don’t think they use Twitter.

I’ve proposed in a back-channel that Twitter (the company) reconceive itself as a directory, patterened after Network Solutions, that facilitates a federation of Twitter competitors, so lots of different approaches can be tried out. I still think this is the only workable way to bootstrap a much bigger more robust network.

Is Microsoft reinventing upstreaming? 

Amyloo thinks so.

It’s ironic, and a shame, that this didn’t happen much sooner.

Upstreaming was built on XML-RPC, a technology we co-developed with Microsoft in the late 90s.

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