Oi! Winer! Keep Your Hands Off My Twitter

Dave Winer on adding ‘payloads’ to twitter.

Dave, if you read this – Twitter is not email. This is the beauty of it. The need to sum up something in 140 characters or less is a strength, not a weakness.

If you want to start attaching sound or pictures to it you break the beauty of it, the immediacy and the poetry.

Turning twitter into a multimedia extravaganza would break it. If you want to do that sort of thing then mobile post to your blog, then people with RSS readers on their phone can follow you.

It’s like trying to improve a screwdriver by sticking a laser beam and a jet engine on it.

I’m not convinced that it even needs tagging.

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11 Responses to “Oi! Winer! Keep Your Hands Off My Twitter”

  1. Lem says:

    Tagging? What is this… tagging of which you speak?

    I’m slightly annoyed that Twitbin (the Firefox 2.0 addon) has been broken since the last “feature” update. I have heard that other desktop tools have had similar problems. Surely that’s not how it’s supposed to work?

  2. The Captain says:

    I agree, less is more with Twitter. Leave it be.

  3. Dave Winer says:

    FYI, we’re already using Twitter for pictures and 30-second audio tweets.

    I guess you don’t know about what these people are doing. And that’s how it should be. One thing I think people miss about Twitter is that people have very different experiences of it. One person thinks it’s a chat room (really there are people who do) and people who see it as a publishing tool. And sometimes you’re in an interesting place and a quick picture on the cell phone camera is more interesting than 140 chars. It works. And here’s the good news — you don’t have to use it you can continue to have (your version of) the perfect Twitter experience.

  4. Suw says:

    I couldn’t agree more about the tags. I find them annoying and intrusive, and I entirely don’t see the point. Twitter is about people, not data. I’m also not keen on the whole multimedia twitter idea, but then, I don’t like people who live-twitter conferences, or who flood twitter with screeds of text. But I control my own experience of twitter by unsubscribing from people who annoy me.

    What I don’t want to see is more complexity added to twitter as a tool – if people want to link to multimedia, then that’s cool, that’s up to them. But twitter doesn’t need “complexifying”.

  5. Tom Reynolds says:


    People are linking to content and the tinyurl inclusion is great – but the small overhead of tweets is part of it’s strength.

    I have no data to support this, but (in Europe at least) SMS is much more popular than MMS. And SMS is much cheaper.

    What you are talking about is something like moblog.co.uk which is great.

    I think that the explosion of Twitter is due in part to it’s simplicity, start adding things and it’ll start getting too cumbersome and will start excluding those people who have the simpler phones.

    (eg. African countries where mobile phones are often of more use than the internet).

  6. Tom Reynolds says:


    Tagging is a way of ‘marking’ webposts so that they can more easily be searched by places such as Technorati.

    A form of metadata (data about data).

  7. Dave Winer says:

    Tom, so? The pictures wouldn’t appear on cell phones. They don’t appear now and it doesn’t seem to bother anyone (the icons for people). Same thing would happen with these pictures. They would only appear on the web. Nothing is lost for the users of mobile devices. I don’t see why it’s a problem. Sorry.

  8. Tom Reynolds says:

    Dave, If you are talking about such things only being seen on the web version of twitter then why not use something else (like moblog)? You are saying that ‘nothing is lost’ on mobile devices, but if the pictures don’t appear then it *has* been lost.

    What would happen to the ‘multimedia’ message if I try to view it on my mobile?

    “Twitter from Reynolds: *This message not available on this platform*”?

    To be honest I still don’t think that Twitter needs these additions as there are tools for this sort of thing already out there. Twitter as a platform doesn’t need to do everything, just do what it does already well.

  9. Dave Winer says:

    Tom, I think we’re going around in circles, I’m pretty sure I addressed these points in my post and in comments here.

    One thing I haven’t said is that more metadata and payloads don’t become part of Twitter, they’re sure WILL be new systems that do voice and pictures, even video, and who knows what else.

    I think there’s a big tradeoff in having two or more systems. I wanted to say how I thought it might work, to get a discussion going. In my opinion I don’t see what would be lost if the web users have features that SMS users don’t because (sorry for the caps, but I think this has been missed) THEY ALREADY DO, and the world didn’t fall apart.

  10. Dave Winer says:

    I responded to some of the concerns raised here on Scripting News…



  11. Tom Reynolds says:

    Dave, I’m getting that ‘circular argument’ feeling as well… *grin*

    I’m just thinking that missing out on the portraits on the mobile phone isn’t really missing out on content, but that being unable to hear someone’s mobile tweet would be making twitter a two tier content system.

    Still, as you say in your follow up piece – it’s up to the wise folks at Twitter what they do.

    (And the whole web/SMS getting different service seems awfully close to the network neutrality argument…)

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