Dave Winer on Twitter : The key is lots of users, a growing user base, and an API with no dead-ends.[1]

That means a dead simple API that goes both ways. It's important to have lots of RSS out. It's equally important to have an API that let's you update the service from an external App. That's what separates Twitter from Facebook. It's why Twitterfeed can exist for Twitter but not for Facebook.

Where it gets tricky is when you've got the API, growing user base but not lots of users and not lots of developers working with you. Even if I exactly duplicate the Twitter API or Facebook API on Ecademy, I still won't be able to get the developer ecosystem going until we have 10 times the users. And although it would be trivial, all those Twitter Apps would have to be rebuilt because they all hard code the connection to a specific service. So this hard for me, but what about Linkedin? Let's say LinkedIn do their own Facebook style API. Will they be able to get traction? Will anyone actually code to it?

In the middle of the article, Dave drops another mind bomb. One of the things we talked about was micro-blogging. I asked the people if they would like it if the only way you could create a WordPress site was on wordpress.com. Think for a moment. Is a distributed Twitter possible? Where everyone runs their own system to show their latest status update and some aggregation system appears to draw all the content together and provide the following - followed by Social Network functionality?

[1]Dave. You need to see the last blog about routing Facebook to Twitter. It's got RSS. It's got APIs. It's got Open Identity standards. Should be right up your street.

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[ 29-Jul-07 9:13am ] [ , , , ]