While having lunch today with some friends, and in the course of conversation, it ocurred to me that Twitter might taste some of their own medicine and be killed by those that Twitter is trying to kill with said medicine.
A month or so ago, Twitter announced their own desktop/mobile client for several platforms. This move obviously puts at stake several startups that have developed products based on the Twitter firehose.
If Twitter indeed has the power to kill several apps and startups, its also true that those clients, apps and startups also have some power over Twitter. And it might just be bigger.
Currently Twitter traffic is generated mostly out of Twitter’s web interface, namely through desktop or mobile apps. As such its Twitter client apps that own the audience and the eyeballs of Twitter users. What if those killed by Twitter used that audience, and the power they bring, to turn around and kill Twitter?
All it would take is that the app/client developers created their own central infrastructure, maybe jointly owned, and release new versions of their apps that connected to the new central infrastructure (let’s call it opentwitter.com) instead of connecting to twitter.com. Maybe initially the client apps would post tweets to both services. And later switch off feeding tweets to Twitter. Maybe those client apps could hijack twitter.com name resolution and redirect users transparently to opentwitter.com (yes, that would be sort of evil…).
In a single but coordinated move, Twitter would find themselves out of its audience’s attention and eyeballs.
This would also bring about the possibility of an IRC-like federated twitter server nodes, assuming that all major twitter client apps developers agreed on a common protocol both for client-to-server and for server-to-server tweet interchange.
In a single swoop Twitter would find themselves out of more that 50% of their users and it would have to play ball with those holding the firehose. Or risk being left by themselves watering their own walled garden with much smaller hose.