Sunday, May 25, 2008

Twitter addicts suffer withdrawal, blame everyone

Like many early adopters, I have become a Twitter addict for reasons I've discussed elsewhere on this blog. Now Twitter is experiencing a lot of down time, and Twitter addicts are getting all shaky and blaming everyone and everything for the troubles.

Jeff Jarvis wants Google to "buy Twitter and put us out of our misery." He reasons that Google should want it and could fix it. (Google already has Jaiku and Dodgeball.)

Steve Gilmour blames FriendFeed, which he implies was the "errant API project eating way too much of our Jabber (a flavor of instant messenger) resources" to which Twitter referred in its explanation of the downtime. Gilmour characterizes FriendFeed as being built on the back of Twitter, which hardly seems fair even if so much of FF's content comes from Twitter. It's not like killing FriendFeed will stop Facebook, Twhirl, AlertThingy, etc. from pulling content off, or BrightKite, IM, texting, and hundreds of others from placing content on.

ReadWriteWeb desperately looks for Twitter alternatives, looking at Pownce, FriendFeed, Jaiku, and BrightKite. Of these, only Jaiku and BrightKite accept SMS, and none serve the pipe function that makes Twitter so brilliant and indispensible. When I can SMS a service a task and have it passed on to Remember the Milk, and when I can direct-message someone and expect them to get it via SMS, then we will be in business. At present, all of these other alternatives fit into different parts of the information ecosystem.

My sense is that Twitter is going to have to (a) become more strict about the API and (b) figure out how to scale appropriately. But right now Twitter is the only service that does exactly what it does. BrightKite is the closest to it in a lot of ways, but it doesn't meet the sheer simplicity of Twitter and it doesn't perform the pipe function.

Oh, if you have a Jaiku invite, send it my way and I'll review the service in comparison to Twitter.

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