so, there was a bit of an uproar on twitter over the weekend about the possibility of twitter switching to an algorithmic timeline (i.e., starting to muck with what shows up like facebook does). a lot of people were upset about various issues, real and imagined. and twitter eventually came out with a semi-denial to some of those.
tl;dr: twitter isn’t going to explode tomorrow
and with these stories, there is always a but for me. and that is that twitter shouldn’t even be in a position to muck with my timeline. i want my critical communications to be based on agreed-upon protocols. individual companies can support those, embrace-and-extend those, or whatever. but at the end of the day, everybody can take their traffic elsewhere. like we did when google dropped support for google reader.
the google reader fiasco is a good example of this working out pretty well. there was a de facto monopoly on feed aggregators (because google had bought them all). and when they shut it down, there was a period of chaos. but then a number of people stepped into the vaccuum (feedly, oldreader, etc.). and now there are a lot of choices, using pretty well-established protocols like atom and rss, and there are a ton of clients that work with lots of aggregators.
i kind of doubt this will happen any time soon with twitter: they aren’t shutting down. and there have been a steady stream of things (like changing favorites to likes, like not doing nearly enough to address harassment) that make me think that twitter isn’t going to be a good platform long-term. but they aren’t the kind of things that are going to drive away users in droves.
anyway, i’m interested in alternatives, so i’ve setup a couple of them to play around:
- diaspora*: i’m email@example.com
- twtxt: i’m esc: https://escowles.github.io/tw.txt
which leads me to hosting. i’ve long believed that you should host your own tools if you can. shared services (esp. when they’re free) are very convenient. but if you’re not paying your way, you’re not really the customer. there’s someone else (funders, advertizers, etc.) who are really in control of where that service is going.
so i tried to setup my twtxt file on my personal webhost. i got it working, but it turns out the only automatable way to publish involved a pretty long lag time (over a minute). so here i am on github. and as long as i’m setting up a personal github pages site to host one thing, i may as well setup a blog to try it out too.
one step forward, two steps back?