Rate limit exceeded

I have mixed feelings about Twitter and its recent IPO.

Twitter is my favorite mainstream social network and the only one I use regularly.

Facebook boggles my mind on every conceivable level. Even its terminology is not compatible with my way of thinking. I've never used the word "wall" to refer to anything remotely like the Facebook wall. I would call it a stream, feed, or updates from friends. Facebook on a desktop browser is supremely ugly. And not in a utilitarian way—just the opposite, with an ultra-narrow content column. I can't figure out how to use it to talk with people I don't already know, which to me is the value of a social network. That it remains so popular fills me with lost-for-words sadness.

Google+ on the other hand is Facebook's complement. Where Facebook is drop-dead ugly as a desktop web app, Google+ is a subtle beauty. I am rendered in awe by the degree they've polished the user interface. It's easily one of the best designed interactive sites on the Internet. And yet it's hardly used. Though, frankly, even if it were popular, I am averse to content creation within the clutches of a third-party.

Then there's Twitter, which is basically a massively-multiplayer RSS feed with snark. It's an evolution/devolution of IRC. It's instant messaging with observers. It's SMS for the 2010s.

Twitter beats the other mainstream social networks in the feature I find most important: finding interesting content and reaching other like-minded people whom I did not previously know. Sure, you can use Twitter to talk with friends you already know, but you're not limited to that as you are in Facebook. Since Google+ is less of a walled garden than Facebook, it has the potential of eventually defeating Twitter at discovery.

Twitter wove voodoo magic to extend the lifespan of SMS, creating zombie SMS. But that is analogous to extending the life of fax machines—a bad idea that even your enemies would warn against. A character limit is fair, but something closer to the IRC limit of 512 characters would be more reasonable for computers and modern cell phones. No one wanted to type more than 140 characters when you had to tap a number three times to produce a character.

Some good: the character limit forces users to link to long-form content that lives elsewhere, either at their own site or another third-party. In that fashion, Twitter is not attempting to be a caretaker for all of our content as the other social networks so fiercely (and successfully for some of us) desire.

Most of all, I hate Twitter for marginalizing third-party applications via a crippled, token-limited, and rate-limited API.

Rate limit exceeded.

So do I want Twitter to perform well as a publicly-traded company? Maybe, but I'll keep my non-index investments in TSLA for the time being.

Twitter is my social network of choice. I like the open source technologies that Twitter has contributed to developers. But I also hate the business and I want them to be disrupted in the coming years. Not necessarily by Google+ (how utterly unsatisfying that would be), but by something more suitable for the 2020s.

In 2020, we'll be able to process more than 500 characters, videos longer than six seconds, and high-resolution photos without obfuscating filters.
About this blog