The key will be rapid iteration in the public interest, repeatedly testing not just the feasibility of such a protocol (whether you can build and maintain it at scale), but also its desirability (user risk) and viability (business risk). In other words, it’s not enough to make something work. It also has to be able to win user trust, serve as the foundation of an ecosystem, and allow businesses built on the platform to become valuable. As yet, open standards processes have not shown themselves to be capable of this kind of product development.
Doug Belshaw is sceptical about what is being proposed and feels that it focused on investors and regulators.
Ultimately, Twitter’s announcement is a distraction to the important work of building viable, interoperable alternatives to Big Tech. The thought of Dorsey and chums building an alternative to ActivityPub sounds a lot like the Rainforest Alliance. Given the mention of blockchain, I should imagine there will be a ‘token’ or cryptocurrency angle in there, too. And I’m not sure that’s in the long-term best interests of humanity.
For Stephen Downes, this is a response to the rise of distributed networks.
The sceptic in me wonders whether Twitter is merely trying to undermine existing distributed networks who have been bleeding traffic from the centralized social network.
I think that Michael Bishop captures my feelings best in a short post on his blog:
This is a note I’m posting to my WordPress blog that syndicates to Twitter. If you heart it, it will show up on my blog too. Open standards.