Alright, it seems people just aren’t getting it. It’s not that I want to see Twitter die, or go away, or fail… and I don’t just want to replace Twitter. That’s not the idea.

The idea is to further MicroBlogging.

That’s it.

Or more specifically… OpenMicroBlogging. Here’s a bit from the spec:

To allow users of one microblogging service to publish notices to users of another service, given the other users’ permission.

So what this means is, opening up the world of MicroBlogging to all… Having Twitter interact with with your own server running Laconica (or some other new software yet to be written) or Facebook or Myspace, or whatever. Any site/software that follow the standards of the OpenMicroBlogging spec would be able to participate… and as a user of any of these sites, you’d be able to communicate across services with others. So maybe you prefer how Facebook integrates the OpenMicroBlogging spec into it’s platform, you use them… meanwhile, your friend uses Twitter, and that’s ok, you can still talk to each other as if you were on the same system.

You may or may not remember the old days of silos, when systems could not easily interoperate with each others. Sadly, that’s where we could be headed unless we decide otherwise. I am interested in open source, and open data, and open systems. Freedom from lock-in, freedom to control your data, freedom for new services to come along and challege the establshed services.

How would the world look today if all blogs depended on Blogger? I’m thankful that projects like Movable Type and WordPress (and others) exist, so people have a choice, and the ability to innovate.

I often fear that most people just don’t care about these things, and to those people, I don’t know what else to say. There is a chance you use open source software in some way and may not even realize it, or care. Do you use Firefox? Mac OS X? Google? All of these depend on open source software.

So in the end, I care about MicroBlogging (OpenMicroBlogging to be exact) much more than I care about Twitter or what ever comes out next week.


Twitter-Free Friday Explained

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 (and Laconica, the software behind comes it.

It took Twitter 9 months to add the ability to search for people. got the feature in a week. And while 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 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 See ya there tomorrow!


Twitter-Free Friday

Remember Google-Free Friday, and The Return of Google-Free Friday? Well, I propose Twitter-Free Friday…

That’s right, on Friday, don’t use Twitter.

Does that sound difficult? Is it anymore difficult than a Google-Free Friday would have been in the past? In fact, Twitter might make it easier for you by failing anyway, in which case it’ll be Fail Whale-Free Friday.

On Friday, I will plan to not use Twitter. I will use though, so you can see what I’m up to over there.

It’s an experiment, and who knows where it will go. Join me if you dare.


Twitter, and the rest

Despite my being a fan of Twitter, just like Dave and Dave, I am getting fed up with the failing… and the fact that the fail whale is like some cute little “oops” mascot is sort of annoying. But hey, it’s a free service, what do you expect? No much, right?

Along came Plurk which is, well, I dunno… completely ignorable. Oh, and there is FriendFeed which Dave Slusher dumped Twitter for, but that just feels like too much too often to me. Too many updates, and updates from friends of friends? Argh…

Right now Twitter still has an advantage, but I feel like it’s slipping away with every feature that gets disabled, and every whale they serve up. is interesting to me because it can be decentralized, and because it’s open source. But is it too late? I don’t think so. I mean, Blogger was the deal years ago, and they kept having their own fail, and nowadays look at WordPress. It ain’t over til it’s over.

I think has to do a few things to step up as a Twitter replacement.

  • Twitter compatible API – We need clients to make as easy as Twitter to use
  • Friend importer – We need an easy way to migrate from another service
  • Continued development – Right now Laconica is open source, that’s all good, but interested from developers and widespread adoption of a community will be key

I’m now using to post to both Twitter and This is a bit of a pain, but it works. Sort of. I opted not to post from to every damn service I belong to, as I find it annoying to read the same thing from my friends on 6 different networks. (And yeah, some sort of de-dupe filtering sort of thing is needed here.)

Anyway, I have hopes for as a replacement for Twitter, or at least as a “private label” Twitter since the source it out there for you to use as you like. Go forth developers, and make something awesome!

(You can follow me on, I am raster)