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Twitter is Pivoting (daltoncaldwell.com)
313 points by olivercameron on Nov 16, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 124 comments

I hate to be that (negative) guy, but I'm starting to get really tired of Dalton constantly pissing all over twitter. Particularly because he's competing against them. I'm an App.net backer, and I think it's cool what he's doing, but FFS, let someone else carry the water, if it even needs carrying at all. This all just feels really petty and whiney, particularly when you're already at work solving the problem.

I had no idea who he is, and that he is competing with Twitter. I would have welcomed a disclaimer about his conflict of interests somewhere in the post.

That's not what a conflict of interests is. There's only one interest there.

Things are going to get very tiresome if everybody is going to be expected to preface every published opinion with their entire background so you can decide whether their argument has merit without reading it.

Wouldn't need so much. The sidebar could say 'founder of app.net' instead of the machismo bullshit that's there now.

I think it's generally considered bad form do dump on your competitors, even when you do disclose your financial interests in the matter.

I mean, it's certainly not illegal, and one could argue that it isn't even unethical. But it's definitely in bad form. Rude. Vulgar.

Thanks for bringing this up. The present trend of prefixing everything with "full disclosure" seems to me to misunderstand the whole issue, and dilutes the legitimate cases where disclosure is needed.

This adds news (Chernin's involvement) and knowledgeable analysis in context.

And, for an insurgent platform/viewpoint to succeed, it needs tireless promotion. (Graphomania, even.)

Skip his blog posts if you don't like them, others find them valuable.

Look, his post may be insightful and interesting, but the point is that if any other startup on here spent post after post publicly criticising their direct competitor, it would hopefully be viewed as a negative thing. Why is App.net any different? There are plenty of ways to promote your scrappy and noble insurgency without sticking it in the eye of your competitor.

Again, I think what app.net is doing is interesting and great, just not these types of blog posts.

But the predations of the Facebook/Twitter business model are both the founding impetus and sustaining animus of App.net. They're always on topic for Caldwell, and especially when new information advancing and refining the critique comes up.

And the analogy of 'spending' posts isn't quite right. There is no budget constraint on internet writing to advance your cause: in many cases more is better as long as you're not repeating the exact same points. (And as I mentioned: I see both new news and analysis in this post, even though it advances a familiar theme/viewpoint.)

Eh, maybe. Twitter got started after Facebook, but I don't remember seeing Twitter talking about Facebook.

Why would Twitter's communications strategy be a normative baseline? (And especially for App.net?)

Lots of successes have been marketed as a contrast to an established competitor: Avis Tries Harder, The Pepsi Challenge, MCI vs. AT&T, Mac vs. PC.

That's because Twitter didn't know what they were or were trying to become. They probably didn't see themselves as a competitor to Facebook, but as a complement.

Facebook didn't try to become Twitter-like until later on, when Twitter was already becoming popular, IIRC. It was more of a "Twitter is social-network-ish, maybe we should incorporate Twitter-like features into our product."

DuckDuckGo publicly blogs about what they feel are the shortcomings of Google. I've seen similar feedback in the comments of the DDG articles.

Yep, that was me http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4744621

I think marketing your product by criticizing your competitor is fine, but constantly blogging about how bad/evil your competitor is can be tiring and people just don't care anymore "oh, it's X criticizing Y again to promote his product, how novel!".

Why should a company criticising competition be viewed as a negative thing? Content quality trumps everything else. When something smart is being said, why does it matter who said it?

Not necessarily negative, but certainly suspect. He has financial a stake in the outcome of his criticism.

Compare this to someone knocking Apple for something about iOS with the explicit hope that they fix it to his liking.

If the problems on iOS being criticized are real, I don't see a problem.

Can't you judge for yourself the content you are reading?

>Look, his post may be insightful and interesting

>I think what app.net is doing is interesting and great, just not these types of blog posts.

Nice contradiction. And perspective from someone who knows what he's talking about as a result of building a competitor is invaluable insight and quite interesting to me.

I don't get why you think Dalton is doing this solely for promotional purposes, but hey, you're entitled to your opinion.

Oh, and in response to your previous post: plenty of people are "carrying the water" and are calling Twitter out on their bullshit.

>And, for an insurgent platform/viewpoint to succeed, it needs tireless promotion.

Then I need to ramp up my userscript for client-side filtering Hacker News.

Much appreciated but the "ramping up" refers to the need to add more content when stuff gets removed per page in this case.

I can not upvote this enough.

I don't follow the social media space very carefully, so I had no idea who he was. I read the article, and thought it was insightful.

Perhaps it was old news from a same source if you follow the space carefully, but I suspect most readers are in my position.

And it's hard to fault a posting that is genuinely insightful for most readers.

I guess that a majority of HN regulars read Dalton's posts closely, and found this to be news. Peter Chernin's appointment was certainly news for me, and it added flesh to his account of what Twitter's pivot is looking like.

I'm halfway to where you are but at least he's not coming out and saying "THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD SWITCH TO APP.NET EVERYBODY" he's just commenting on twitters changes. I clicked this article knowing he was going to be bashing Twitter again but just for spending his time working on app.net he must have some perspective.

Agreed, these posts (have been far too many lately) are annoying for three reasons.

1) There are better apps to build with Twitter's api than boring twitter clients.

2) There are plenty other clients to build for other web services if that's your thing.

3) As repeated by many people before, if you use someone's API they have control of how you use it. No point in whining, it's not like there is anything hidden or hard to understand here.

  > if you use someone's API they have control of how
  > you use it
"You have no right to complain about my behavior, because I'm perfectly within my rights to be an asshole."

Somehow I don't think this fits with the way the world works.

No, a direct translation would be

"There's no point in whinging about my behavior, because I'm perfectly within my rights to be an asshole"

Which is entirely different to what you stated.

Or back to:

"There's no point in trying to sway public opinion against me, because I'm perfectly within my rights to be an asshole"

With regards 1), as an end user of a given communication protocol, I would like there to be a plurality of clients available for that protocol. C.f. email, usenet, irc, ftp, etc.

Its called marketing. App.net is still small. It needs to be constantly looking for ways to be in the spotlight. I do understand your point, and can sense that you are just tired of how it seems to get too much attention. Maybe its time that App.net got the attention of hackers by writing technical posts or maybe releasing some code? It is always refreshing when companies forget about pure marketing for a moment and focus on creating interesting things.

Even I agree with you when you say that author comes across as negative towards Twitter. Also, I hate the way he hates brand advertisers and advertising. C'mon, we all need advertising. We all need effective channels to market our products and companies. The problem being digital advertising is completely broken. But that doesn't make whole brand advertising bad!

How does how it feel to you have anything to do with the merits of the post? He naturally blogs about what he's obsessed with, and his opinions aren't any less valid because of who he is.


He didn't say the opinions were invalid. He says it sounds whiny, and it does. He says it's insidiously self-promoting, and it is.

That's all stuff best left unsaid. And does it need to be pointed out that all this complaining about someone's tone is a bit whiny? Because it is.

That's ridiculous. Dalton is the natural expert to point out just how far Twitter has sunk. Twitter's a metaphor for broken Silicon Valley "ethics".

Dalton is building disruptive infrastructure. Since when is debunking a bad idea .. negative?

Of all the rhetorical points that Dalton makes, this one was the most damning for me:

>>> His announcement was formatted as a direct reply to the official Twitter account.

This means the announcement would only be seen by his followers that also follow the official Twitter account. I don’t get the feeling he did this on purpose. An experienced Twitter user would know to add a “.” at the beginning of his message so that his followers would see it. >>

It seems a bit pedantic. But when top-down leaders don't get even the basic details of their operations right, then there are a lot of other big-picture things that they seem to get wrong as well. In the case of MySpace's crushing defeat by Facebook, the difference really was in the details, not in the overall ambitions of the two companies.

To be fair to Chernin, he's a board member, not a leadership executive. Most Twitter employees will never meet him and many may not even know who he is (or the other board members). Smaller companies have a board that's much closer to the employees, where it's not uncommon for senior employees to be in frequent contact with individual board members for advice. Larger companies will have boards that are far more diverse and typically far from the product. For example, Apple has the Chairman of Avon and the former Chairman/CEO of Northrop Grumman.

It's a small embarrassment to Chernin to bobble his first Tweet. The more interesting story is that he's a Hollywood deal maker, and that's more reflective of Twitter's aspirations. While he may have said some stuff about MySpace when he was at News Corp, he's really a media entertainment guy.

Not only that, but it's also a bit of a stretch to draw any connection between NewsCorp's stewardship of MySpace and Twitter's developer strategy. There is no real connection there.

Chernin is not going to be leading or planning developer-relations strategies for the platform. Most likely, to your point, he's going to be there to develop content and media partnerships. He's one of the most powerful and connected people in Hollywood, and has been for 30-something years now. That's the value he's bringing. He's not a tech guy, nor does Twitter need him to be.

Small, mildly embarrassing flub of a first tweet, but Dalton's drawing way too many far-out inferences from it.

Serious question: Why does Twitter need people connected in Hollywood?

Uh...because Hollywood is by far the biggest category of twitter traffic?

By what metric?

Sorry, I know I'm being dense, I just don't see Hollywood stuff in my feed very often at all.

And if Twitter is talking up Hollywood, doesn't that mean Hollywood needs Twitter more than Twitter needs a board member with connections into Hollywood?

A lot of famous people are on Twitter and some have rather large followings. Many interact with their fans daily (rather than just pushing out announcements). I thought that this was one of the big draws that brought more average people to the platform.

Not only this, but with respect to news media outlets, a number of their reporters/talking heads have active Twitter accounts.

Also, just because Hollywood can benefit from Twitter doesn't mean that they are going to show up at their door begging for a deal.

This is a fair and worthwhile distinction...still, Twitter is one of those services that seems hard to "get" without a good college-try at it -- I only joined because our company more-or-less said everyone should make an account. And now I'm thankful that happened because the mechanisms of Twitter make it a unique platform for consuming and sharing information...and yet without using it, I could not be convinced that it was nothing more than blogging for people who liked blogging about really trivial things.


i knew twitter was broken but this takes the cake. i have been using twitter for years and had no idea.

Before the rise of Twitter's own official client, it really was an elegant way to handle the problem of having a minimal interface (i.e. no reply button). But yes, it was basically something you wouldn't "get" unless someone told you, or you used twitter enough to eventually notice that someone's direct-tweet did not make it into your overall timeline.

And the many screwups with direct-messages is pretty well known...

If that riles you up, look at how SMS legacy commands still cause issues: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jwherrman/one-thing-you-definitely-c...

Aha, until I read about the SMS issue, I'd forgetten how incompetent Twitter was in the past. The whole 'scaling' debacle, etc.

I'm not certain that's fair. They grew by an order of magnitude every half year or so. That's very difficult to keep up with, especially when you have no idea how to turn all those signups into money.

I followed the entire thing and was trying to use the site, too... my impression is that there was an equal mixture of legitimate challenge met well, and incompetence/bad decisions.

Hey, Quora got slightly less obnoxious about blocking their content. Finally. Just a week or two ago, I followed a link to Quora and they were still doing the scummy old Experts Exchange trick of blurring out most of the answers.

I tried them two days ago and they were doing the same. Seems like a very recent change.

I just tried them now and got the blurred answers. Maybe you have a Quora account you're signed into?

haven't used quora enough to discern but it seems to be selective. sometime i get the roadblock, other times not

This is the exact reason Twitter needs to change or accept it will never have true long-term mass market appeal. It's UX is targeted at geeks and not for the average user. This was great for getting off the ground, but the fact that these things still exist is pretty sad. I'm not at all surprised their new CEO didn't get this. In fact it underlies the need for the to pivot even more.

I'm still confused. If I'm on someone's profile, the tweet box already includes @user. So if I go ahead and tweet in that box, it will not show up in my follower's feeds? It was not a "reply".

I would agree that's totally broken but live feeds aren't even usable past 10 or 20 followees anyway so maybe it doesn't matter that much?

Tweets preceded by "@user" appear only in the timelines of the sender, the user in question and people following that user.

Reyner's response is the correct answer.

It's not pedantic. That one character has a huge influence over how many people will see the tweet. This wasn't some minor style screwup that only nerds will even care about, it was a technical screwup that strongly affected the distribution of the message.

Missing something important here: He didn't intend for it to be seen by everyone, he was simply replying to a tweet from @Twitter.

[citation needed]

His motivations are obviously only for us to guess at, but why bother replying at all if not for other people to see it?

An experienced Twitter user would know to add a “.” at the beginning of his message so that his followers would see it.

Signed up for twitter on the day it launched(I think) and did not know that. Twitter is a painful product to use. It isn't made for humans.

Twitter doesn't have to show a username in tweets; they can easily translate it to the name.

Twitter doesn't have to require each reply to appear like an out of context note. They can easily group them as complete conversations(like facebook allowing comments).

Twitter doesn't have to make lists so hard to use. They can easily make it very similar to facebook(except on twitter there is much more need to use this since they do not filter out tweets).

Twitter doesn't have to insist on this 140 char limit that looks funnier every coming day and result in butchered communication.

Twitter doesn't have to subtract 100 characters if I post a URL that is 100 characters; it could automagically shorten it or not count against the 140 at all. Instead, I am forced to manually use bit.ly to shorten it.

Twitter doesn't have to show me a stream filled with url strings; it could easily show the title of the page or something similar to facebook.

Dear Twitter, PLEASE stop this stubbornness in your product philosophy. It is hurting your users and it is hurting Twitter Corporation.

Sorry, but it's painfully obvious from your post that you don't actually use twitter, at least not regularly enough to "get it".

- user names are a huge part of what makes Twitter interesting, imho it's not meant to be the type of service with real names

- replies do get grouped as complete conversations, and it's been that way for a while now.

- lists really aren't that hard to use, I don't know what your problem with it is

- and the 140 char thing is your craziest point... 140 chars is exactly what makes twitter so great and so interesting, if the messages were longer it would drastically affect how the service works and feels.

Basically what I'm getting at is that Twitter is already fantastic for users... unfortunately it isn't making them enough money, which is why they're changing so many thing about the service, but let's not pretend they're changing things because the user experience is so bad... if the experience was so bad, they wouldn't have the millions and millions of users that they have now.

- user names are a huge part of what makes Twitter interesting, imho it's not meant to be the type of service with real names

I am genuinely curious of the use cases where the username adds more value than the name associated with the account. I'd also like to know what type of service twitter is supposed to be in your view.

- replies do get grouped as complete conversations, and it's been that way for a while now.

Technically they do, but visually they are a mess. The way humans naturally converse is by adding their comments to a topic. This is why facebook lets you comment on a wall post. If you read a wall post and the comments, they make sense. On twitter, it begins with reading some random comment and then having to reverse engineer the conversation it possibly may belong to.

- lists really aren't that hard to use, I don't know what your problem with it is

On twitter.com, in order to see a list, I have to click on an icon on top, click on "Lists" and then click on a list name. That is 3 clicks and a page reload compared to facebook's 1 click. Furthermore, so I click on a list, browse and want to click on another list. I must hit the "back" key resulting in a page reload, and then choose another list.

it would drastically affect how the service works and feels

Sure it may feel drastically different...but that could be for the better, no? 140 char was a great thing to launch with just as facebook restricting to college campuses was a great hook - but products evolve to accommodate wider audiences. Twitter hasn't.

My personal reading is that twitter long passed the threshold where it would be some underground place and increasingly tries to present itself for the mainstream--without changing the product to accommodate the mainstream. The equivalent would be facebook opening up to the world but building features mainly for the college market.

- the username adds more value than the name associated with the account

Well; username is actually the ID; what you use to follow someone, reply someone, promote someone, etc.

- 140 char was a great thing to launch with just as facebook restricting to college campuses was a great hook

No, the limitation is actually good in the long run, you _have_ to be concise, very useful for most kinds of massive streams of information. In my view it would be like Youtube hosting pics and users having to navigate through both kinds of media.

In the other aspects I agree with you; Twitter haves many many problems and hasn't really improved much in years. The back button is extremely broken.

This almost sounds like a case of Stockholm syndrome.

I use Twitter. The 140 character limit is definitely not a feature. In addition, they could be tokenizing mentions and hashtags to save space (e.g., as a Unicode private use point followed by a 64-bit int).

When you see the amount of XML crap that is included with every tweet, the artificial limitations imposed seem all the more laughable. (See: http://www.slaw.ca/2011/11/17/the-anatomy-of-a-tweet-metadat...)

Twitter doesn't have to subtract 100 characters if I post a URL that is 100 characters; it could automagically shorten it or not count against the 140 at all. Instead, I am forced to manually use bit.ly to shorten it.

It doesn't subtract URLs at character value; it does automagically shorten URLs to a uniform tax. A bit.ly link will digest just as many characters from the tweet as a 1024 character link -- 20 characters per link. Not a recent development.

Ah, didn't know. I'll maintain that this is an even more random way of dealing with this and in my case, even worse since bitly links aren't even 20 characters. That there should even be such a thing as a URL tax is crazy.

What is really dumb though is that it still uses a shortener, even though the functionality is now built in. Show me the damn link!

Well, if you're Zaid on Twitter, and that's your original account, you signed up about a year after Twitter launched.

Pretty sure I signed up on the day it launched because I remember reading the TC story:)

Where do you see the sign up date? I either didn't tweet for a year or deleted my tweets at some point or held another account(unlikely since I don't think I'd get my 4 letter name a year after).

edit: I have at least one other account: http://twitter.com/oonth

@zaid - member since August 2007. That's more than a year after Twitter actually launched, and your user number is in the 8 millions (ie more than 8 million accounts were created before that one).

You signed up for your other account in March 2007.

I've had an account since 2007 and this is the first I've ever heard of this also. Here is the explanation:

"Place a period before the beginning of the @ if you plan on beginning your message with a mention, or else Twitter will only send that tweet to people who follow both you and the person you are mentioning."


It is insane twitter is trying to reinvent irc in all the bad ways.

Why is this not documented on Twitter somewhere I would have seen it?

Because it's an unofficial workaround. Twitter didn't assume people would want their followers to see their @replies.

140 characters annoys me when I have something long to say, but overall it's something that I really like about it, and I know plenty of people who agree with me.

I don't know if they'd do better by dropping the limit, but saying it's a bad limit is definitely subjective not objective.

Email annoys me when I want to have a real-time conversation with my mother - which is why, when that happens, I use the medium that's intended for that sort of thing.

Twitter and email are both the same sort of medium.

My point was that I would use a telephone or skype. Using twitter for the wrong purpose and complaining about it is like complaining that it's hard to hammer in a nail with a screwdriver.

Just to be clear, I wasn't complaining about it, I was saying I think the character limit is a good thing.

Ok, third comment here, guess the previous two comments (memesisj and jamesmoss) pretty much define 'polarizing' :-)

Dalton raises some interesting questions. What exactly is twitter ? And perhaps more importantly what does Twitter think it can become? The churn in API restrictions, usage and messages certainly can be confusing.

I don't see these options as mutually exclusive. How is consumption of information canceling out sharing information? Especially with the ability to email tweets now. This seems to run contrary to what Dalton is writing about.

My favorite twitter comment is that you don't have to tweet to use twitter. You can contribute to the news, and you can consume it, Twitter isn't pushing for people to use just pursue one.

Twitter is pushing people into using their service in particular ways (eg, by restricting clients), and by the sounds of what is to come - the advertising will gradually get more aggressive.

Dalton understands what makes social media work - and you can see it in how he advertises App.net. If you ask "what is App.net" and look for Dalton's answer somewhere - he never explicitly states. He is deliberately vague about what it is - because it isn't anything until its users have defined what it is.

That's how twitter became successful in the first place - the service was defined by its users to become what it is now. Not just twitter, but every major social network grew the same way, and the ones that failed are those that didn't understand this.

So Twitter, Inc. need to be careful not to piss off it's content creators with aggressive advertising or constraining how they interact with it. What Twitter, Inc want their service to be is ultimately not their decision - it's up to the users.

Well put, it's a 100% user driven service, and has been historically friendly to developers. While the later point may be shifting, they can never lose site of their content creators value, and have to actively listen and work with them in order to make their publishing as easy as possible. I think that makes sense of their recent purchase of Vine, a beautifully crafted service on the twitter platform.

This is how I use Twitter now -- to consume news and discuss said news with my social circles. I certainly wouldn't be upset if Twitter took this as the core use case of the product.

Twitter is like RSS for people who don't know what RSS is. And I mean that in a good way. :)

Totally agree, I think Twitter understands this too, their their recent work in NLP to analyze trends, and grouping tweets to create adhoc discussion board like centralizations of discussions.

I get the impression that social media douchebags already pivoted Twitter in that direction a few years ago, and now Twitter is just confirming it. The sad part IMO is that it seems like they could fix their developer relations problems and their business model by charging to send relevant tweets to existing followers, not unrelated ads. Of course, I don’t even use Twitter so you probably shouldn’t ask me.

You would be correct actually. If anything Twitter pivoted over a year ago.

I wrote my thoughts on this subject here in my post titled, Twitter Isn't Pivoting, It's Already A Media Company http://www.besttechie.com/2012/11/16/twitter-isnt-pivoting/

True, but the root problem is in education. Our schools are passing out "social media douchebag" degrees left and right - we can expect nothing less.

This is only partially tongue-in-cheek. The balance of information systems operate on trust, just as economies do, and eroding trust at the institutional level is a bad sign.

As much as I like to make fun of the douchebags, I have to admit that there is some merit to the idea of Twitter as an opt-in marketing channel or a character-limited version of Google Reader — at least those use case are useful to some people. The original Twitter, although authentically social, ranged from boring (I don't care what you had for lunch) to frustrating (you can't have any meaningful discussion in 140-character chunks).

For those unaware: Dalton Caldwell is the creator of app.net, a direct competitor of Twitter (with a subscription fee model instead of an advertising/data model).

I think it's important to read the post with that context in mind.

"What is post-pivot Twitter supposed to look like?

The best way to consume “news and information”. Important content is mostly created by media companies, whether they are blogs, television, radio or movies.

The main reason that “normal users” would write messages is as a backchannel to discuss media events such as the Olympics, Election Coverage, or a new television show. “Normal user” tweets are something akin to Facebook comments.

Even though this backchannel exists, it’s not expected that brands and celebrities are supposed to pay much attention to everything that is said. Chernin himself hasn’t replied to the numerous replies he received."

That's funny because that's how I used Twitter from the beginning (5 years ago).

I have to disagree with author on some of the points. And looks like he doesn't like the fact that FB and Twitter are part media, part software companies.

"a media company writing software that is optimized for mostly passive users interested in a media and entertainment filter."

What's wrong in being media company? We all agree that software is eating the world, so why is it bad if Twitter is "disrupting" real-time media consumption? I loved Twitter's Olympics coverage. Even though I was thousands of miles away from London, I could feel the excitement.

Same for Hurricane Sandy. It was so useful to get latest news update in such a terrible time (for everyone involved). I was caught in another disaster few years back and the biggest problem was not getting important news updates from credible agencies/people. Twitter solved that problem for Hurricane Sandy coverage.

Twitter/FB are becoming like "breaking news" for every news. Be it earthquakes, celebrity gossip, world cups, olympics or new product launches!

I actually have used and are using twitter. It is a horrendous user experience - but I know how to fix it.

My main problem is my diverse interest in different subjects and twitters current inability to let me organize and follow what I like.

I'm following approx. 200 people divided 30% technology, 30% cycling and 30% friends/locals. For me, it would be impossible to imagine following more than 250 or 300 people with todays interface - because they are all thrown into each other and reading the raw feed is a clutter and mess of subjects.

You would think, considering their main goal is to get people following their interest, that they would get this part of the interface right. But the contrary - it is what is worst with twitter.

The solution (and problem) I'm hinting to is of course lists and as Facebook, G+ and virtually every other social network already have found out: people like to organize interests, people and subjects into different "buckets". Facebook had a lame interface for this many years, but does a better job now.

My point is, as an experienced twitter user, I know where the pains are and my first day in office I would make sure that the accessibility of lists were greatly improved.

The second day I would use to fix a decent conversation view and comprehensible reply scheme.

EDIT: To point out the inaccessibility of lists today, here is the general way to read up on a subject: tool-icon > lists > choose list. That's 2 clicks too many. You could also use the shortcut "gl" and spare 2 clicks, but still, it is 1 request too much and way too complex for the regular user.

I've taken to using HootSuite as a primary Twitter client primarily as an interface to view various lists. I'm following the Baja 1000 off road race this week and while I'm looking for updates on the race I don't care so much about the web developers and other topics I follow. Next week I'll be back to looking for insight on various development topics and the late tweets on how hard the racers and their crews partied in Ensenada or La Paz don't matter much to me.

HootSuite doesn't have the prettiest interface but it is functional and reasonably fast for a web client so it works for me.

I have a similar issue. I go to Twitter for many things -- work info, to laugh, friends -- and it doesn't work to have everything jammed into one stream.

I would like to see something split the list of accounts I follow into subject-based lists or something so that I can consume with context.

At some point, I think following becomes less important. Ideally Twitter could just show me tweets that I should enjoy. I'm not looking to get every update anyway -- I just want to dip into a stream of info that I'd find both timely and relevant.

Have you tried tweetdeck? It does just this. Set up columns for hash tags that interest you, and you can see what the entire twitterverse is saying about those topics in real time.

Perhaps a true commercial social network is a contradiction in terms; the friction from the user=product formula necessarily becoming unbearable with time. Perhaps an open source non profit solution wil have suited it much better.

Although I'm fairly indifferent about app.net I could read Dalton Caldwell's blog posts all day. He's a clever guy that puts across his points well.

So just reading the post I got a little confused (and then i found out he's the creator of App.net and wondered if his passion isn't clouding his best judgement) Firstly the quote: "Given that most of their traffic comes from us, if we build adequate if not superior competitors, I think we ought to be able to match them if not exceed them." - I just wasn't quite sure what this quote meant - I certainly didn't assume it mean't we're going to block them though. Maybe they did block them but shouldn't the correct quote end with "I think we ought to be able to block them"?

He's been using it for a long time to consume news and information. Ok, makes sense. Yet this is apparently objectionable or at the very least damming. I think it's damming because he says he's a consumer not a producer of tweets. Is this news to anyone?

"Admit failure and give up on trying to get normal people to tweet" The balance in twitter's tweet creation and consumption happened organically. Kudos to Twitter for allowing it to happen vs forcing unnatural acts? "You should tweet more!" I don't look too closely but it seems like it's been an open secret for 2 + years that 80% of all tweets come from 5 - 10% of users or whatever.

I guess I wouldn't call it a pivot if Twitter is focusing heavily on the 10% that do 90% of the tweeting vs trying to get the other 90% to tweet more.

Dalton was just on This Week in Startups. Great to hear more in-depth insights on iMeem, social, ad sales, and app.net http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6ZsIlfzSBU

While I don't necessarily agree with his wording in every blog post, this is an awesome interview.

1. I like, support and (pay for) App.net 2. One tweet, by one famous media guy (admittedly a board member, yes, but really only known for being a great media executive) does not a strategy make. 3. The title "is pivoting" is extremely assertive and not really backed up by, well, a preponderance of facts or data.

Hard to say you're a "long time user" if you've only been on since 2010. Been on 6 years, that line made me laugh.

To me, what's implied by this piece — since it's written by Dalton — is that Twitter is leaving behind an opportunity that he plans to take advantage of. What remains to be seen is whether the thing they're leaving behind can be fully realized.

Do people really need a short-form messaging platform for communication?

Or perhaps Twitter has already figured out that there is no opportunity, and Dalton is mistaken in believing it exists.

I think the opportunity Twitter is leaving behind won't pay off for Twitter's investors, but it is enough to be worth Dalton's time and effort to scoop up in Twitter's wake.


The one point that really did not resonate with me is that companies will take over. Currently, companies are by far the worst tweeters and are totally dominated by individuals whether thy be celebrities, experts, citizen journalists, etc. Even the good tweeters who sort of tweet under a company umbrella define themselves more than their companies. Twitter seems to me that it will remain the anti-company network since it provides so much advantage to the collection of individuals.

I think its outrages that a member of the board of directors of twitter has absolutely no idea what he's doing on twitter. I have no knowledge of Dalton's other business then this blogpost, and therefore it doesn't strike me as annoying, just a well written critical analyses of what twitter is doing wrong. I really hate the protectionistic (i.e. stupid) way twitter is doing business and I hope if enough people vocalize it, twitter might do something about it.

Interesting, but it's reading an awful lot into a single tweet.

If you want more insights about the things discussed here, there's an interview that Mark Suster did with Joel Spolsky last year where they talk about the "API wars":


They cover everything from the early days of Excel's API to the downfall of myspace and the rise of YouTube and Photobucket, and how twitter took off. It's worth your time.

"Admit failure and give up on trying to get normal people to tweet."

What are you saying? Fourteen year olds and ethnic minorities use this website. How normal can you get?

"An experienced Twitter user would know to add a “.” at the beginning of his message"

Thanks for the protip, Dalton.

So are we finally moving to our own status.net instances?

TIL what the '.' in front of '@' is for. Interesting.

Sounds like Chernin wants to make a news wire.

So, Google Reader with poorer infrastructure?

99.13% of Internet users don't know what RSS is.

I like that twitter forces you to be concise.

I have a theory that it was Twitter forcing people to be consise that was one of the major factors of the Arab Spring revolutions.

Think about it: Politicians who have been trained in the art of speaking in soundbites have been ruling much of the world since the advent of electronic media.

Those who can't phrase their arguments in bite-sized pieces for busy people to digest come across as being ineffective intellectuals.

Titter gives ordinary people the ability to communicate in soundbites. Sometimes less is more. This is society-changing powerful stuff.

they're just gonna concentrate on content/media sharing via url, and that isn't necessarily big-company driven. people sharing links and talking about them etc.

I'm a longtime twitter user. He should've checked out my account for an example of best practices - http://twitter.com/mullingitover

Imagine a Hacker News without Dalton Caldwell or 37 Signals.... Mmmmmmmm

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