Maybe I did a poor job of explaining Twitter-Free Friday. See, it all goes back to 2001 when Dave Winer suggested Microsoft-Free Fridays, and was followed up by my idea for Google-Free Friday (which was resurrected last year by Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land.)
It’s not so much a boycott of Twitter, or a condemnation of Twitter. I like Twitter. I’ve been using it since late 2006 when there were less than 6200 users. I’ve convinced other people to use it, I’ve written code that uses it, and I was even interviewed about Twitter a few weeks ago.
Twitter is a monopoly. Just like Microsoft was and Google is. And any time you rely on one single entity for something, that’s bad news. Even worse news if it’s something you need or really want, because at some point, after you are hooked, they will screw it up, and you’ll have no alternative. As much as I am a fan of Apple, they got problems, and I’m glad Microsoft (and the Linux folks) are there to keep Apple on their toes, and keep them honest, and keep them innovating. Competition drives innovation, and we need innovation in this MicroBlogging world.
But… Twitter is this proprietary thing, owned by one company, and in the end, I am still a big fan of a decentralized system, and open source software, and standards… and that’s when identi.ca (and Laconica, the software behind identi.ca) comes it.
It took Twitter 9 months to add the ability to search for people. identi.ca got the feature in a week. And while identi.ca still does not match all the features of Twitter, I believe it will, and it will surpass it. Things are moving fast, and not because of dollar signs, or the future hope of dollar signs, but because people are excited about the possibilities. With Twitter you see the fail whale and we all go “oh well, try later!” and that’s not good enough. Laconica, in a free and open environment offers the ability for us to do better, and to have some control over such things.
When I find blog posts from people about identi.ca/Laconica they are often from people I know and respect as visionaries of the web, people who have had good ideas in the past, and put those ideas into code… Those are the kind of people I trust to build an open system for the future.
So join us tomorrow for Twitter-Free Friday. Go a day without using Twitter and see how it goes. Maybe it will suck, and you’ll appreciate Twitter even more, or maybe you’ll find an alternative. I know, it’s all about the network right? If you’re friends stick with Twitter and you leave, you will be lonely, and sad, and cry… but the idea behind a federated system is that your friends could use a different system than you do, and that’s ok, cuz it all hooks together. Yeah, that’s the idea.
So while other came along (Jaiku, Plurk, etc.) none of them made me (and so many others) say “Damn! This could be it… what we are after! An open source, distributed system like Twitter” that, you know… isn’t Twitter.
I am raster on identi.ca. See ya there tomorrow!