As a social network, twitter has a few fairly unique characteristics:
- It forces people to be more creative in trying to express the idea within 140 characters.
- Ability to control the content that you receive. Stricter filtering is possible based on one’s interests.
- On platforms such as Quora/Facebook, the feed is not deterministic. That’s not the case with twitter. You see tweets in order and as they happen. Twitter doesn’t try to decide what is important and what is not.
But Twitter has been bleeding money since I have known about it. It has seemingly created a lot of value in sharing of ideas and news. If it were to go away, it’ll have an (at least temporary) impact on its users.
Are there any alternatives to Twitter? Sometime back, I started a casual discussion about this with a friend. There isn’t an obvious service that currently exists which would fill in the void that Twitter might leave. Other than what Twitter what already provides, we needed something more resilient. So, it could be de-centralized, i.e. not dependent on a single server to provide content.
Hmm, we want a client-server architecture. It could be a standardized protocol. Services would spin up for non-tech people so that they could host their content on them. Then because of the standardized protocol, people could innovate on clients as well! Continue the discussion on this for a few more seconds and then…wait! This already exists. The world already uses it, and quiet successfully. And, it is an open standard. We were trying to invent blogs and RSS!
And there was an end to a short brainstorming session.