How are twitter and friendfeed not over glorified rss aggregators

Posted by Thomas Sat, 07 Jun 2008 02:24:06 +0000

How is twitter not just an rss aggregator that limits the blog posts to 140 characters? So maybe you can post from a text message via your phone. That’s novel, but not particularly earth shattering. Surely in 2008 it should be fairly easy to text from your phone to your blog if you so desire. Maybe it’s the social aspect to it? But I already follow my friend’s blogs, have the ability to comment on their entries (though I may not see all of the comments on all of their entries…). And doing an exceptionally simple search to find my friends solely based on email is neither novel nor nonobvious. The ability for me to log in with openid and you to use my foaf to find my friends would be much more robust. I guess it also has favoriting and replying to specific posts, but again replying to a post would be like making a comment on another’s blog, and favoriting I guess I just don’t really ‘get’. There also might be the soft real-time nature of it, whereas an rss aggregator has a pretty relaxed update guarantee. Surely that could be solved by liberal use of trackbacks or a push architecture.

Friendfeed seems equally as unoriginal. Honestly it seems more like an aggregator than twitter. Actually, looking at it right now, most of what I’m reading is an aggregation of twitter. Now don’t get me wrong; I love the notion of having the tiniest scrap of update of all of my friends in one place (like facebook’s news feed on steroids). And while I do think that is totally awesome, it is very much a natural and logical extension to what already was on the web. twitter is to blogs as blogs are to … geocities. It’s like we’re repeating ourselves that we couldn’t find enough content to publish in the 90s, so we eventually turned to blogging about the mundane details of our life, and now we’ve regressed to the point where we’re micro-publishing the inane blatherings direct from within our skulls. I mean I blog, but I don’t expect it to be terribly interesting. I digress from bashing friendfeed… How are rooms not just mailing lists of people with common interests, or newsgroups for that matter? Again you have the very heavy social aspect to it. And I totally applaud their functionality to make it hella simple for me to tell them about my flickr, netflix, delicious, linkedin, twitter, etc. But honestly shouldn’t those services already be exporting my feeds (and most probably already do). And again we come back to this notion that I should be publishing all of “my” sites (flickr, netflix, delicious, linkedin, twitter, etc) from a single source, where you can then crawl them and do what you like with the feeds. Granted you can’t comment on certain things, say on the last movie I got from Netflix. And maybe that is worth the lock-in, but I’m having a hard time biting.

It all comes back to my desire for a single authoritative profile, with no particular vendor lock-in based on any company’s implementation, information based on open standards, and decentralized. I should own all of the data and relationships contained within, instead of some company tos‘ing me to death. If I spent all that time building up my profile and finding my friends, why shouldn’t I be allowed to take that with me?


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