Twitter’s Kills Can Become Twitter’s Killers

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 instead of connecting to 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 name resolution and redirect users transparently to (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.


  1. You mean, start using something like Possible, since many people already have accounts on both services…

  2. There is only one problem: Traction and foothold. Everybody is one Twitter and follow their people there.

    That idea is borrowed from the open-facebook thing going on over privacy concerns, and has been mentioned before regarding linkedin and others.

    There is one issue with consumer web, associated to the “winner take all” syndrome: viral loops and the social nature of them introduces some huge barriers to entry to others. For the user, the incentive to change need to be veeeery high for that to happen. At the point, where that may in fact be close to happen, twitter (or any of the others) would have to react because they would see it before the others could have the alternative up.

    Do you recall any example where that ever happened on consumer web?

    My view on it: pure ideology.

  3. Hello.

    Same thing with Google.

    They’ve implemented this fade trick where menus and other options appear only after you move the mouse (which increased the page size to around 12Kb) and i must say, one of these days someone will trim the homepage again to 2Kb like it was in 2000 and force them to rollback this blink-blink fade effect ( which btw sucks big ).

    @960, Nbk