Friday, November 04, 2022

#4 Contributor Post in Tech Policy Press for 2022 -- The Future of Twitter is Open, or Bust

Update 12/26/22: It is gratifying to see that most recent article with Chris Riley was listed as #4 in the Top 20 Tech Policy Press Contributor Posts for 2022.

The Future of Twitter is Open, or Bust
(11/4/22, Chris Riley coauthor) explores how a more open strategy might save Twitter from demise.

Some snippets:

Twitter’s best — and most likely, only — hope to survive as a service and as a business is to find an exit ramp off of the highway to hell it’s on. History offers one such path: Open up the platform. Let others build their own Twitter apps, and do their own filtering and moderation, while preserving the advantages of a centralized discovery and sharing mechanism through the underlying platform. And when other, independent Twitter apps succeed, so too will Twitter.

Many years ago, it was hard to imagine the World Wide Web winning in the market over AOL and CompuServe. Yet that’s exactly what happened. It turned out that letting the users of the Web, including other businesses, sit in the drivers’ seat unlocked a powerful creative force, and gave the Web an advantage that saw it outlast its platform competitors.

Twitter can take one last swing for the fences and try to recreate the power of the open Web — and in the same move, perhaps sidestep much of the coming maelstrom of content policy criticism — by separating out the platform it manages from the “presentation layer” that sits between the platform and its users, and includes both the user-facing app as well as behind-the-scenes content filtering, prioritization and recommendation.

That means opening up the platform’s interfaces and data enough to let others create new kinds of Twitter tools and apps. And not just customizing at the level of colors and fonts, but deeply, at the level of freely selecting what content is made available when, and how it is presented to users.

...Separating the platform from the presentation means letting go of sole responsibility for filtering and content moderation.

...Twitter has never known what to do with the incredible network it has...It’s time to let others take a swing at it. 

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