December 03, 2008

Twitter Withdraws Plans for Supporting OpenMicroblogging

By Jesse Stay of Stay N' Alive (Twitter/FriendFeed)

In a very quiet announcement in a bug request on Google today, Alex Payne, API Lead at Twitter, announced the popular microupdate service would switch the status of implementing OpenMicroblogger support from "Accepted", to "Won't Fix".  In the words of Payne, "We've considered this request, and we feel that OpenMicroBlogging doesn't map cleanly onto the services and methods that the Twitter API provides, particularly as we expand our set of methods in the next release."

We previously covered Twitter's initial plans to offer OpenMicroblogging support here before.  With Twitter's attendance at Steve Gillmor's Bear Hug Camp it seemed it may only have been a matter of time for Twitter to accept OpenMicroblogging into their network. Such acceptance would mean other developers could implement their own microblog implementations that could communicate with Twitter in an easy format, and allow users of those services to continue to follow the friends they had already established on the Twitter service. Twitter, being the near-monopoly in microblogging that it is, seems to have other plans.

While Twitter is seeming to remain open to some other option that would resolve the issues that OpenMicroblogging seems to fix, they have continued to ignore the OpenMicroblogging community in being open to letting Twitter lead the discussion on OpenMicroblogging.  Back in July, Evan Prodromou, author of the OpenMicroblogging spec, put the offer out, asking, "If you have some ideas of what sort of adoption metrics we have to hit, let me know."  The question went unanswered however as the issue quickly became one of the most popular issues in the queue for Twitter to implement.  It appears in this particular instance, Twitter simply doesn't want to listen.

Payne tried to calm the concerns by saying, "Should the specification evolve to better reflect what we're trying to achieve, we'll reconsider supporting it." Prodromou responded to Payne's offer by stating, "Alex, we're working on a next release of the OMB spec. If you can send me your notes on what you'd like to see in OMB, I'll be happy to include them. Since the point of the protocol is to create a federated network of Twitter-like sites, it's clear that we'd love to hear your suggestions."  But since his offer this morning, there still has been no response from Payne or Twitter.

For a site that wants to be more attentive to its developers and users, Twitter seems to be dropping the ball in this case, repeatedly ignoring requests by the community to help in the efforts of developing the OpenMicroblogging spec.  Since they have a near-monopoly, can you blame them though?  Or perhaps it's because their time is being spent elsewhere.

Read more by Jesse Stay at Stay N' Alive.