I'm thoroughly enjoying Twitter (follow me!) Apparently others are enjoying it also as there's a funny estimate that it's costing $14 billion in lost productivity (via a back of envelope calculation). There is about a million people on Twitter and maybe 60k adding each a month. Certainly it'll be blocked by most corporate firewalls soon for just this reason.
Twitter is also down ALL the time and it's been having weekly (daily?) scale problems for a YEAR, culminating in rumors that the development team is leaving Ruby on Rails that have been denied by Evan Williams (via a "Tweet," of course). However, that doesn't change the fact that Twitter is down so often there is a site dedicated to "Twitter Down Art" showcasing all the pictures that Twitter puts up when their sites are down. Google changes their art monthly and during holidays, but never goes down. Twitter goes down so often that they use that as an opportunity to change their art! So far, in this era of transparency, no one has explained in technical (or any) terms what the problem with Twitter is and folks are getting impatient. I think that it would be a great PR and Karmic move to just start a Twitter Technical Blog and share the crazy IT problem of the day. Surely someone is sleeping on a cot next to the TweetBoxes and has a story to tell.
There's another rumor that Twitter is worth about $150M. Seems to me that the second bubble hasn't popped. I'm certainly no business man, but we can build this better ourselves.
Twitter is centralized, which is insane (unless you're Google or Amazon or Live.com, etc, which are actually distributed in their own special way).
Twitter is IRC, it's IM, it's chatrooms, but ultimately it's just microblogging with a multi-format API. Here's the XML for my Twitter Account but it looks nicer as Atom.
But I already have a blog! Why use a service when I already host a blog? I hooked up Microsummaries to DasBlog two years ago. There's clearly precedent.
Two folks I know already have Twitter Backup Feeds. Both LazyCoder (backup twitstream) and Dave Winer (twitstream) have Backup Twitter Feeds. Dave takes it even farther and makes his twistream discoverable via a link in his blog:
<link rel="twitstream" href="http://twitter.scripting.com/daveRss.xml" />
With backups like these, who needs Twitter? There is already a very responsive group of Twitter client applications some of which, like twhirl cross-post to Pownce and Jaiku, two Twitter competitors. Russell Beattie has an idea for an Open Twitter Server called Peep using Jabber.
I propose that we distribute Twitter into generalized spec for microblogging and just use RSS or Jabber for the transport. I think the very-fast-rev'ing Twitter clients would support it.
Thoughts? Should Twitter be a service or should Microblogging be an Open Thing?
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.