Yesterday, I tried Tweetstorming for the first time. It was a Tweetstorm about Tweetstorming. You can see the entire storm here.

You might think “that’s a strange way to communicate publicly when there are all these awesome blogging tools out there like WordPress, Tumblr, Medium, etc” and you would be partially right.

What you might miss, and I missed until recently, is that Tweetstorming has some unique characteristics, which I outlined in my storm, that make it different and possibly better in some respects.

But what is certainly true, and I demonstrated by missing Tweet 8/ in my storm, is that Twitter doesn’t make it easy to storm properly and Twitter doesn’t make it easy to consume storms properly. As a result many Twitter users feel that storming is spamming and they also feel like its very hard to consume and engage with storms. At the end of my storm, I encouraged Daniel Graf, Twitter’s new VP Product, to fix all of that.

There are already some good tools out there for Tweetstorming, like Dave Winer‘s Little Pork Chop.

After my storm and the engaging discussion on Twitter, Dave reached out to me and encouraged me to use Little Pork Chop.

I wrote back to him and said that I would try it, but that I would prefer to have Tweetstorming functionality built natively into Twitter and that I had been encouraging the folks at Twitter to do that.

Dave then asked why I would want Twitter to build this when the functionality already exists and that would have negative consequences for the developers who had already been building and iterating on tools to solve this problem.

I wrote back and said that I use Twitter’s Android app for almost all my tweeting and consumption and I really want everything to be right in that app and not have to mess around with third party tools to get what I want out of Twitter.

Which begs an age old question about platforms and the developers who hack around them. And, of course, this age old question has been front and center in the discussion about Twitter since it first emerged back in 2006.

So as I sit here in front of the computer using a traditional blogging platform to compose my thoughts, I see a few interesting questions and I’d love to get everyone’s thoughts on them.

1/ Do you agree that Tweetstorming has some unique characteristics that make it different and possibly better in some ways than traditional blogging?

2/ Do you agree that Twitter should productize Tweetstorming, like they have done with @replies, #hashtags, and RTs, which also emerged organically from the user base?

3/ Do you think that third party tools such as Little Pork Chop should be allowed to satisfy this use case in lieu of Twitter building it natively into their apps?

Please let me know what you think in the comments, and as always, if there are other interesting topics about Tweetstorming to discuss, please introduce them too.


Comments (Archived):

  1. dave

    Fred, thanks for writing this — it helps me understand.I asked a slightly different question — why would you wait, when you want the functionality now, and it’s available from a developer. If Twitter decided to build it in, you could always switch later.Also, in many years being a developer on other people’s platforms, I’ve noticed that the platform vendor tends to move after the developers do. They wait for a market to develop before entering it. So the fastest way to get it from Twitter is to first get it from a developer. Or so it seems. (Not that this is fair or even smart, I wish they would do deals with developers, to incentivize us to try out new ideas. I think Twitter is stuck because they did so much to disincentivize developers a couple of years back.)Also, I think the APIs should be flexible enough so you can have the built-in feel without the wait. And I think they almost are.Regardless, I’m sure we can do BETTER than Twitter will eventually do for you, and we will get you as a user, a happy one. 😉

    1. dave

      Also, I’m not worried about “negative consequences” of Twitter competing. I don’t have that much invested in LPC, and I got burned by Twitter before, so I’m going in well forewarned. 🙂

    2. fredwilson

      Well this shows the power of a long form blogging platform over email because I misunderstood you. I agree with you that I should be using LPC until Twitter delivers this functionality natively and I will do thatIs it available as a native android app or would I have to use it inside chrome?

      1. dave

        Use it in the browser.

        1. William Mougayar

          Could you embed it in the Twitter page, like BufferApp, so it would have a permanent button?

          1. dave

            Interesting. I wonder how they do that! (Probably a pretty egregious hack.) I like hacks btw. 😉

          2. bsoist

            Excellent idea. I am building a Chrome extension now ( first one I’ve done ) and I think I’ll fool around with this a bit too. @dave:disqus

      2. LE

        Well this shows the power of a long form blogging platform over email because I misunderstood you.I always thought there was a need for a product that would allow you to have a private conversation with one or several parties instead of using email. Where you wouldn’t lose track of exactly what was going on and what the issues were. But I don’t think it would work past a certain level of complexity unfortunately.Same way you can text someone “which restaurant” and they text back “ill check and get back to you” and then later “Fred’s Bar” and you say “What time” and they say “7:00pm”. I guess the question is how do you scale that experience?I literally have to keep paper file folders of all the things I am juggling at one time.

    3. William Mougayar

      “…they wait for a market to develop before entering it. So the fastest way to get it from Twitter is to first get it from a developer.”Bingo. Tweestorms are still a niche product, and Twitter is focused on mainstream users for now.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Twitter is focused on revenue, optimization of revenue, development of revenue products, analyzing their big data for revenue potential, etc. All of this takes time and resources away from developing new user features, right?

        1. William Mougayar


        2. MikeSchinkel

          @JimHirshfield:disqus – This could be a nicely monetizable feature as by nature it would be something that would be tagged/categorized by the creator and thus make it easier to target ads to readers.

          1. JimHirshfield

            True. But Tweetstorming is not that common, is it?

          2. MikeSchinkel

            JimHirshfield – “But Tweetstorming is not that common, is it?”No, because it’s a PITA to do. Selling online was a PITA before eBay. Short form blogging (Tweeting) was a PITA before Twitter.Make it easy, promote it as being available and many others are likely to do so. Or work with someone like @dave:disqus to build a solution that can be tested on a subset of users to validate uptake.

          3. JimHirshfield

            Good points all around.

      2. MikeSchinkel

        @wmoug:disqus – Remember the 90-9-1 rule of user participation. 1% will create Tweetstreams, but 99% will consume them.

        1. William Mougayar

          But even within the Twitter 1%, tweetstorms are probably for 1% of them, so that’s .001% of total, roughly, and that’s maybe generous.

          1. MikeSchinkel

            @wmoug:disqus: “But even within the Twitter 1%, tweetstorms are probably for 1% of them, so that’s .001% of total, roughly”Selling online was probably .001% before eBay.Easy to use and well promoted mechanisms can change usage patterns from negligible to mainstream.

          2. William Mougayar

            Sometimes that’s true, and sometimes it’s not. What I’m saying is that early adopters are sometimes a niche group that stays that way, but sometimes it’s not. Only the passage of time can uncover what really happens. That’s been my experience at least.

          3. MikeSchinkel

            @wmoug:disqus – Agree 100%. Adding to that, though, is without easier mechanisms to create content promoted by the core brand, we’ll never know if it will have uptake or not (hence my suggestion elsewhere to leverage external people to discover what works vs. what does not.)

          4. William Mougayar

            yes, only by pushing and increased usage we can tell.

    4. Richard

      Copy it? My gut tells me they might just ban it, particularly when it makes the experience worse for 99% of users, ( if it were ever used in mass). Why would they let a third party fuck with their most important asset.

    5. LE

      (Not that this is fair or even smart, I wish they would do deals with developers, to incentivize us to try out new ideas. I think Twitter is stuck because they did so much to disincentivize developers a couple of years back.)Can you give some examples of doing “deals with developers to incentivize us”?

    6. David Luebbert

      Twitter has pre-built support for threading tweet replies that meshes very nicely with tweetstorm submissions, when each tweet in the storm is submitted as a reply to the previous tweet and when the same addressee list is used for each tweet.When that kind of tweet entry happens, Twitter notices and groups the tweets of the submission sequence together and shows a vertical rule between the tweets to show that they belong together.It also reverses the order of tweets in the presentation so that the tweet sequence can be read from first to last.If the next tweet in the storm is always a reply to the previous posting, tweet n+1 is added to the tweet grouping in exactly the desired order.Here’s an example of such a Twiiter created Tweetstorm thread.The main advantages of using this facility.1) It’s no longer necessary to include sequence numbers in the tweet stream to demonstrate how the tweets are threaded together.You can still do the Wurtemburg Theses, ala Martin Luther, as a form of tweetstorming if you wish to facilitate reference to discussion of the points of a tweetstormed argument outside of Twitter, but for discussion of the subtweets inside of Twitter it’s only necessary to reply to a subtweet of the storm.2) The tweetstorm can be read just like any other text from top to bottom.3) Once more than two tweets are threaded, Twitter starts to ellipsize your tweetstorm, by omitting some of the interior tweets in the sequence and instead providing links to expand the ellipsized tweets if you are interested in the presentation. Twitter also provides an expand button off to the right of the first tweet in the sequence that allows you to expand the entire sequence.4) Sequence numbers need be used only when they help the argument in the tweetstorm. The numbers won’t have to be used as the necessary glue that allows the tweetstorm to be recognized as a unit of text.These collapse/hide features are great because they constitute an answer to the objection that the storm swamps the recipient in a blizzard of tweets that can take up a lot of real estate in their tweet stream.There is difficulty in the use of this variety of tweetstorm entry, that I suspect Little Pork Chop could easily heal:It’s still easy to have your tweetstorm thread be broken through no fault of your own, if a reader decides to reply to one of the early tweets in the storm thread before you’ve finished typing the last tweet in the sequence.In the example thread that I pointed to above, you can see my tweetstorm thread was broken when Glenn Hall decided to reply to me while I was still submitting the later tweets of my storm.Once this breakage happens, it becomes necessary to enter a sequence number in your next tweet to indicate how the reader needs to jump between the tweetstorm islands that have been formed.It would be cool if Little Pork Chop was extended to create a tweetstorm thread using the ‘N+1st subtweet replies to the Nth tweet’ style. Because it would submit the tweets of the storm all in one blast, there would be almost no chance for a respondent to reply to a middle tweet before Twitter established the entire thread for the storm.It would also make it unnecessary to add sequence number the subtweets of a storm if the writer doesn’t wish to write in numbered thesis form. That would reduce the visual clutter that tweetstorming creates in recipient tweet streams.If Twitter could wait a second or three to allow the next tweet in a storm to hit using this threaded entry style, they would be able to present the entire tweetstorm as a package, which would really cut down on the clutter in recipient’s tweet streams, which answers a major complaint about tweetstorming.

  2. carribeiro

    I’m a firm believer in the power of a rich ecosystem. I think that if Twitter allows developers to write tools that improve its core functionality, we will have richer tools and more choice. In fact, as soon as I saw the first tweetstorms by @pmarca, I suggested openly (via a short tweetstorm) to the guys at Buffer that they should provide an easy way to post & manage tweetstorms.The problem with this is that for Twitter, there’s always the feeling that they are leaving value for others to grab. There’s also the risk that someone manages to add value in such a way as to the threaten their control of the platform. That’s why, in the end, Twitter will never allow for a true open ecosystem around it. But I believe that if they want to grow, and to be relevant in the future, allowing innovation around Twitter’s core platform would be the faster way to find new and exciting directions.

    1. dave

      One of the reasons I was willing to take a chance now is that they clearly need some new ideas, and the fastest way to get that to happen is to lighten up a bit on the developers. I decided to go first, and push into this, hoping other developers would get some courage. Maybe nirvana won’t happen on this platform, but we’re ALL suffering from the lack of trying out new ideas. I’d think Fred would feel this the most, with fewer exciting ideas to pick from to invest in.

  3. jason wright

    storming is a new one to me. it would be interesting to have an app that presents an evolving tweet storm graphically. a bit like this, maybe;…it’s beautiful and mesmerising. that would be enough for me, but with thought it could be much more. twitter is a biological entity.

  4. JimHirshfield

    Definitely not spam. I don’t get where that comes from.

  5. Jayadev Gopalakrishn

    a. While Tweetstorming has the ‘immediate’ live feel to it unlike traditional blogging (and that makes it appealing), it could end up as noise when it’s out of context for the user. An occasional tweetstorm from a Fred or Marc versus everyone tweetstorming and clogging my timeline are two different things!b. Instead, I should be able to choose viewing a tweetstorm than it becoming a part of my regular feed to address the aforesaid problems of noise and context. So a preview of the tweetstorm (maybe the first tweet) and then giving the user the choice to expand it and see the whole ‘set’ would work better, for me at least. So if Twitter adds a ‘Storm’ button alongside the ‘Compose’, then you have a different product to work with. And that makes sense to me.

  6. JimHirshfield

    To answer your questions: yes, maybe, and yes.

  7. carribeiro

    Talking about the tweetstorms, I feel that the format allows for a very interesting dynamic.In a real world debate (for example, between presidential candidates) there’s a lot of effort to make sure that participants get a fair amount of time to answer and to challenge each other, but not as much as to wander around and escape the original question.Tweetstorms allow for a bitesized approach to online debate that is impossible in a blogging platform, or in a interactive environment. It’s also way better than debating over IRC. Tweets are long enough to write complete and meaningful sentences, but short enough as to require lots of thought to concentrate the intended meaning in the smallest amount of tweets possible. It also allows a reasonable time to compose answers – much better than a live debate, specially for non native English speakers as myself. I know I would never be able to survive a single minute talking in a real debate, it’s too fast for my non native English brain, and I’d probably lose a lot of the nuances.Tweetstorms also allows for quick digressions that can be as shallow or deep as necessary. Online debates frequently split and branch, and that can get terribly boring. The short nature of a tweet avoids the worse of such digressions.

  8. Karen

    Doesn’t Tweetstorming fly in the face of what twitter wants fundamentally. And that a single 140 character message.It’s like you’re trying to write a long essay or blog with twitter. Which goes against every grin that made twitter popular to begin with.

    1. fredwilson

      Well that’s what I initially thought and why I initially dismissed storming. But constraining the stream of thoughts into 140 character chunks does some very interesting things and i think, yet again, we see the genius of the 140 character constraint at work

      1. carribeiro

        Tweetstorming allows quick debates with short and to the point arguments. It allows more people to participate in a more interactive way. It’s in a way an alternative to a commenting system like Disqus. Check this very comment thread and think about it in a tweetstorm format…

      2. LE

        You say “Well that’s what I initially thought” but end with “we see the genius of the 140 character constraint at work”.Doesn’t appear that you actually addressed the counter point to “what I initially thought”??

  9. Jonathan Libov

    To address your questions directly (I’m going to comment again with something else that’s less direct), I view Twitter as two separate entities: Twitter the media property and Twitter the protocol. I don’t use the former — the Twitter website or the official app. I use only the latter via Tweetbot.For me, an early adopter geek type, Tweetbot is Twitter. I can’t say for sure that I’d use Twitter at all if it were to cut off third-party clients (my hunch is that is keeping everything in low gear in case that day ever comes, in which case they’ll have a market).For my non-early-adopter-geek-type friends, they use Twitter the media property. My hunch is that Tweetstorming makes Twitter the media property more complicated than it already is. My friends struggle to digest and contribute individual tweets as it is, so I’m skeptical that they’ll take to Tweetstorms.Generally speaking I’d love to see the third-party ecosystem (Little Pork Chop included) grow richer and serve as a sort of D-League to the NBA. If third-party clients and tools can figure out the right experience on Twitter’s behalf (as they did with @replies and hashtags) in a way that the broader userbase will find digestible, then by all means it’s great for Twitter the media property.

  10. LIAD

    3/ QED tweetstorms on twitter suck.2/ Twitter pioneered the feed. A reverse- chronological stream of standalone content. Using it for a chronological list of connected content is the antithesis of how the product is baked.1/ Tweetstorms are sequential, build upon the previous thought and are numbered. Take away the numbers or the sequence and you just have a good old garden variety twitter rant.

    1. Chuck Shotton

      Twitter did no pioneering, especially of “the feed”. It started as a tool to send multiple SMS messages to all your friends at once. All they did over time was save your messages on a web page and take away the SMS capability.

      1. LIAD

        Fair dues. Pioneered wrong word. It was the essence of their product though.

        1. Chuck Shotton

          Indeed, they eventually got there. “Popularized” might be more appropriate. But the cost was a long trail of destroyed 3rd party products and a lot of gun-shy developers that might not want to help them a second time.

          1. LIAD

            For sure.They bit the hand that fed them too many times.

      2. JimHirshfield

        SMS capability still exists, AFAIK

        1. Chuck Shotton

          Yeah, I should have been more explicit. They nuked the XMPP underpinnings that had allowed Twitter messages to flow into other services like Jabber, SMS, etc.

          1. JimHirshfield

            Got it. Thx.

      3. MikeSchinkel

        @cshotton:disqus – Twitter did innovate on the 140 character limit (mostly by happenstance….)

        1. Chuck Shotton

          Um, no. That was the limit of the text payload of a SMS message. They didn’t “innovate” that. That’s how SMS works and that was all they could send when they sent a message.

          1. MikeSchinkel

            @cshotton:disqus – Um, no. “Innovation” is a term that can apply more broadly than you are trying to limit it to be.”Innovation” is about finding a better way of doing something.By that definition Twitter found a better way to provide a central feed which anyone can subscribe to anyone else’s posts was an innovation. But Twitter could have chosen to not use SMS so choosing to use SMS became their constraint, and innovation is about working within constraints; nobody else prior to Twitter had done so and also executed on it. Further, SMS is 160 characters, not 140.Whatever the case, arguing that Twitter didn’t “innovate” is just pedantry. But if being pedantic is important to you, then I’ll demure.

          2. Chuck Shotton

            Well, your own pedantic rant aside, my point remains. Twitter invented nothing. They simply provided a way to write a message once and send it to a distribution list. Hardly novel. And if you think that limiting the messages to 140 characters was some stroke of inspired brilliance, then you must believe that Yo is the epitome of innovative thinking.

    2. Richard

      A rant is a rant, notwithstanding what punctuation is applied.

    3. leigh

      lol oh ok! i was having trouble really understanding what a #Tweetstorm is — but if it’s just an organized Twitter rant? I totally get it now 😉

  11. Robert Heiblim

    Hi Fred, 1) Yes. Reading in small bits works for different people than blog reading so the audience may have a different and perhaps wider reach. It is not the same. 2) Yes, but that is my view and may not be shared by their larger audience. More features can complicate. 3) Yes, but that is really up to Twitter and those like it. Some will allow and support. Some will block and others will integrate. Certainly we see this at MSFT and Apple. There is not one answer and in the end will depend on people who use them.

  12. Chuck Shotton

    I don’t trust them to ever do right by the users with regards to this sort of function. Leave it in the hands of 3rd parties. Twitter has missed so many opportunities to become a platform that powers the Internet. Rather than embracing a robust third party ecology built on their messaging infrastructure, they have incrementally removed API capability and ratcheted down access to the point that only Twitter can provide certain types of functionality. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to embrace the vision for Twitter that everyone else sees. It’s not a promotion-driven platform for celebrities. It’s a giant peer-to-peer messaging sandbox that has always had the potential to blow the doors off the Internet if they’d only let it. Let the third parties show them how to do it.

  13. Jonathan Libov

    More tangentially, there was a very interesting discussion this week on the ATP podcast ( this week starting at 61:50 about whether API’s (that make things like Little Pork Chop possible) are going to be as common as they have been the past 5 – 10 years. They cite Twitter specifically: It never would have grown to the size it did without a full set of API’s and a vibrant ecosystem, yet inevitably it had to prioritize Twitter the media property over Twitter the protocol (served over API) in order to monetize.There are a few trends that suggest API’s and everything that come with them are becoming obsolescent:- Native apps, which continue to outpace the web, will rely increasingly on the various forms of inter-app communication (Google’s Intents, Apple’s new Extensions, Microsoft’s contracts, etc.) instead of API’s. For example, if you wanted to add a Foursquare check-in to an Instagram post, the most natural way for Instagram to do this in iOS 8 would be to use Foursquare’s Extension.- There haven’t been many new social networks since Twitter that rely much at all on API’s. Instagram, Snapchat and others have built products for which full-fledged API’s would have negated the experience that makes these apps so great. Perhaps Tinder or Spotify are counterexamples because they rely on Facebook API’s, but they might be doable via Extensions in the future, and in using the Facebook graph they’re not exactly social networks themselves.So to your “age old question about platforms and the developers who hack around them”, one wonders if the principles of the Tweetstorm question merely linger from a bygone era or still bear on the future of hackable platforms.

  14. awaldstein

    1. Feels like a sequential rant to me.Interesting at times, derivative, not that engaging.2. If I was them, it if had value, I would build it in.3. We all use what’s available.

  15. JimHirshfield

    Can we try to keep these comments to 140 characters or less? Come on people, constrain your selves.

  16. Chris O'Donnell

    I’m not a fan of the tweetstorm. It feels very forced, as though you are trying to force Twitter to do something it isn’t good at. However, if it does catch on there damn well better be a “hide entire tweetstorm” option. Logging in and finding 13 ten-tweet storms lined up in a row, and having to scroll though all of it, will be a miserable user experience.It also seems like the tweetstorm would make Twitter more interesting to spammers. As it is today, my Twitter feed is probably the cleanest content feed I have. Spammers can follow me, but that have zero impact on my user experience, as I don’t see any of their tweets.

    1. Chuck Shotton

      Check out provides a great way to trim your tweet stream down to something more organized. I put all the people I want to pay close attention to in one bucket, and all of the other stuff stays in the regular Twitter UI.

  17. Brandon Kessler

    You’ve hit on Twitter’s main dilemma: their growth came from the ingenuity and quirky behavior of their users and developers, but Twitter believes both have confused the untapped masses and shrunk their growth rate.1/ Yes like all other Twitter content, tweetstorming is awesome if the tweetstormer is awesome.2/ Twitter seems unconcerned with how existing users want the product to evolve, and seems much more concerned with how new users can better understand it. If anything I see them productizing Facebook’s features rather than their own userbase’s.3/ Twitter has stated they only want developers to focus on putting content IN to Twitter, not pulling it OUT. They’re on the side of encouraging people to use Little Pork Chop to create content but not to let LPC be involved in the display or consumption, which is a shame and contradicts their value of openness. There should be 1,000 tweetstorm apps for anyone who wants to install them.

    1. MikeSchinkel

      @brandonk:disqus – “Twitter seems unconcerned with how existing users want the product to evolve, and seems much more concerned with how new users can better understand it.”Agreed. And I think that’s both shortsighted, and very sad.

  18. JimHirshfield

    @fredwilson How did @jschauma recreate the Tweetstorm on that Twitter page you linked to?

      1. JimHirshfield

        Thanks. Never used that.

  19. William Mougayar

    1/7 Until Twitter improves threading clarity, a Tweetstorm accentuates that product weakness. It’s a real mess to follow a TS with 5-10 points in it, especially if they each have multiple replies, like your TS from yesterday.2/7 I have tried Little Pork Chops yesterday for the first time, and it was great to see it chop the tweets and a great feature is the order reversing which makes it easier for the reader. It also has other nifty features.3/7 I”m not sure what the magic number is, but if Twitter were to natively add TS, maybe they should also limit the # of TSs, in the same spirit as limiting 140 chars. Brevity helps to focus clarity.4/7 I think Tweetstorming is a niche product, not for the masses of Twitter users (yet), so I doubt that Twitter would add it anytime soon. They need to continue growing their mainstream users first.5/7 If we want to raise the visibility of Tweetstorming for Twitter, let’s do more Tweetstorms, and more usage will help them decide to incorporate it or not. I think we’re in the MVP stages of what that product would look like.6/7 Tweetstorming does something magical, which is to force you to organize your thoughts into bullets. You can’t just blurp out a tweetstorm. Marc Andreessen’s TSs are a good example, and I took a few minutes to write mine in a logical sequence.7/7 EOT – End of Tweetstorm (borrowing from how Fred ended his) But if you include the total number your tweets like I just did, you don’t need to add EOT.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Some of those a >140 characters. #justsayin’ 😉

      1. William Mougayar

        true. i didn’t have time to shorten them. #churchillsaying

        1. JimHirshfield


    2. JimHirshfield

      If you posted each of your bullets points as individual comments on AVC, you could have shared each on Twitter as individual tweets, thereby commentstorming and tweetstorming. AKA, crosscommenttweetstorming.#makeupwordslikethegermans

      1. LE

        Just made me think that an idea for Disqus would be to allow people to tweet a comment in one click that was under 140 characters. Perhaps also including the comment they replied to if it was the right size.

        1. JimHirshfield

          You can tweet a comment. That feature exists. So that’s like 99% of your idea. Better than good enough, yes?

          1. LE

            That “share” is a bit out of sight out of mind.Similar to the icon for adding a picture or even the fact that you can drag and drop a picture I wonder how many people know that?The share should actually have the icons appear as well (I know it’s not very jobsian but he’s dead now so it’s ok).Likewise the mountain icon should have text next to it. Reply stands on it’s own because that’s easy to figure out.Of course if the idea is to not make it so obvious to attach pictures (otherwise clogs things up) then I’m on board. And I approve. But who cares if you end up littering twitter by removing the friction from tweeting?My point is that making it one click “post as LE” and also “Post and Twitter as LE” would almost certainly get more people to do it by removing friction.You could easily a/b test this. Drop everything and call Daniel.. Ha. Ha.This is not for me I don’t use twitter. But then again maybe I would if I could easily twitter comments. Maybe I would just twitter everything to a separate account so I could keep track of all the knowledge I impart.

          2. JimHirshfield

            “This is not for me I don’t use twitter.”So these are your expert opinions based on extensive user testing? Got it. 😉

          3. LE

            You can joke if you want (when someone takes the time to give you advice) but reducing friction is a no brainer to increase usage of something. I don’t have to play guitar to know that if it was easier to learn guitar more people would learn guitar.And adding an extra box doesn’t takes much engineering either.What “But then again maybe I would if” means is that I don’t have a use for twitter.But if it solved some problem or had a benefit I would. So the fact that I don’t use twitter is an advantage here. Hence, I am saving twitter. So now drop everything and call Daniel.By he way do you guys actually discuss any of the things that people suggest online regarding disqus?

          4. JimHirshfield

            I was joking. Pushing your buttons.We talk ALL THE TIME about ideas sourced from commenters.Keep ’em coming.

  20. rikardlinde

    Not sure about the utility of Tweetstorms but I’m probably wrong about that.When it comes to third party apps I think the issue is why we don’t have an open protocol that developers use. I know there are attempts, and eventually they will get there, but for now we’re stuck with the Twitter platform.Dave, you have a great understanding of streams and feeds and I see Little Pork Chop, Rivers and your other services as templates for the world we are entering, it’s architecture for the 21st century! Don’t you see this as a protocol issue?

    1. JimHirshfield

      Let me cc @dave:disqus for you 😉

  21. jonathonkav

    1/ yes I think this is the future. Main point is the succession of individual points and each one standing on its own merit while part of a larger point. It also reminds me of thinking out loud which is often productive.2/ Yes it would make it more fluid if twitter developed the functionality3/ I don’t really have an opinion on this – seems like more hassle than its worth.

  22. hangtime79

    1. Tweetstorms are not new, but hat tip to Marc A for popularizing it.2. Tweetstorms still are only 140 character messages so I have no problem with that – so thoughts really need to be still constrained to 140 or they lose their power.3. Twitter is still one of the mass mediums so having someone leave it to go read your blog especially when you only have a paragraph to say seems counter-productive thus Tweetstorms.4. If it catches on, we may well need some way to hide or encapsulate Tweetstorms – for now since its only being done by a few its ok. This will be the only reason its gets baked into the Twitter clients.5. As Dave is mentioning below, this is a small endeavor for him – no one bets their livelihood on developing around improving or extending Twitter functionality – that’s stupid as Dick Costello and company have stomped on those doing so on multiple occasions. Even the purchase of GNip now has them in an adversarial position where they were partners with others before. When I think of Twitter I think of this meme.

  23. Shaun Dakin

    I thought you were talking about twitter chats and then I figured out that there is a term of Art for something I hate. In fact if someone does I I either unfollow or ignore.

    1. Shaun Dakin

      And, in general, I’m seeing less and less useful twitter conversations. Personally I am using it less and less. I’ve been there from the start and won a Mashable Open Web Award for the best use of Twitter for non profits in 2008. It is mostly for pushing a message now and not for true engagement.Won for @EndTheRobocalls

      1. JimHirshfield

        The bigger it gets, the more noise.But don’t you think that keeping your use true to the way you want to use it is best for your followers? And don’t you just unfollow (or not follow) the noise?It is what you make it, no?

        1. Shaun Dakin

          Of course, so I’m using it less and less. For clients we do twitter chats and they can be helpful to influence policy and policy makers. But for day to day personal use, not so much. I mostly use Buffer and hootsuite / lists to filter noise. Even with that it is no longer where engagement occurs. Facebook is where that happens for me and most of my friends and family.Twitter still rules Breaking news. Push notifications (press release).But Facebook is where community lives.ThanksShaun @shaundakin 😉

          1. JimHirshfield

            Thanks for clarifying.

  24. jtauber

    I know you’d rather see the functionality in Twitter, but things like try to go beyond supporting just Tweetstorms to streams that extend over time.Twitter isn’t great for Tweetstorms but it’s even worse for thoughts that develop over time so even if they add features to support Tweetstorms, I think there’s still an opportunity for that latter use case. Blogging doesn’t really feel that niche either (although it’s great for already-thought-out articles). This is the motivation behind ThoughtStreams.

  25. William Mougayar

    If Little Pork Chops (or some other tool) could publish these TSs more elegantly than Twitter does now, I see value in that. Basically, it would mirror the Twitter streams, but organize it by user like a real conversation. So, you could see all of my Tweetstorms together. Otherwise, they are quickly lost in the Twitter streams.

    1. Richard

      Just link back to the user if you want to see their tweets in one place?

      1. William Mougayar

        but they are inter-mixed with the other single tweets. i was thinking of being able to slice them separately.

        1. Richard

          How is it any more work than finding those numbered tweets in your stream. What happens when you have two storms flowing simultaneously. Seems like it makes a mess of raw sewage.

          1. William Mougayar

            You know when you pick “Tweets and Replies”? That’s when the Twitter thread mess begins. There could be a 3rd tab “Tweetstorms”. But Twitter needs to fix the thread mess first.

  26. sull

    If it gets considered as a new feature/product internally, one approach would be to leverage the tweetcard functionality and provide a compose option to allow for the creation of essentially an ordered list (bullets) of up to….. maybe 1400 characters. This data is stored differently and presented once expand is clicked as an internal type of tweetcard that outputs text with hyperlink support and maybe basic text formatting like bold, italics.Extra points for somehow allowing replies on each bullet.But honestly I have for years felt that twitter should have a parallel publishing layer for more common blogging useage and obviously have it be tightly integrated with tweeting in various ways. twitter’s belief that the 140 char tweet was/is enough to power the platform and business model into the future was terribly misguided. Not shocking since this is a company who announced Annotations years ago (developer dream feature) and years later we settles for…. Animations (gif vid loops).

  27. Joe Lazarus

    I can picture two really different ways to build this into Twitter: 1) allow people to write one long form post using a simple, native HTML editor and generate one link to that single long form post, or 2) generate one link that points to a thread of related posts that are each chunks of 140 characters. #1 would be sort of like embedding a blog post, which encourages to writer to gather their thoughts before posting and encourages the reader to reply to the total long form post. #2 lets the writer post a string of short form, related thoughts and lets the reader respond to each chunk separately. Which is more Twitter-esque?

  28. kirklove


    1. JimHirshfield

      Imma let you finish, Taylor.

    2. fredwilson

      yup. kanye may have produced the first tweetstorm i ever saw

  29. Nathan Gantz

    “Raises the question” unless you want to sound like Ryan Seacrest or an OC Register Journalist or a Breaking Media intern.

  30. William Pietri

    Personally, I hate this behavior and unfollow those who do it. Twitter for me is about a variety of voices, and this hogs a shared channel.I do think that Twitter should do something like their image handling but for blocks of text. You could create a mini-essay and post it as attached to a tweet. Twitter would host, provide a short link, and make a nice UI that would expand the tweet and show the text inline when clicked.Something like that would solve the longer-than-140 need without the many ugly flaws with posting a long series of tweets.

    1. William Pietri

      As an aside, after that I’d like to see them offer a hosted discussion feature, so that anybody can create a single-purpose discussion thread that doesn’t flood feeds and allows for longer text. Basically a lot like an instant version of your comments thread here. Twitter’s 140-character limit is great for keeping a feed manageable, but it hamstrings real discussion, forcing curtness and destroying nuance.Hey, maybe Discus could make an instant hosted discussion feature? You press a button, get a link, paste it into Twitter saying, “Let’s have a real discussion about this,” and off the discussion goes?

      1. sull

        you are correct, sir.

    2. LE

      Personally, I hate this behavior and unfollow those who do it. Twitter for me is about a variety of voices, and this hogs a shared channel. CB Radios Anyone who is old enough to remember the CB Radio craze that swept the country realizes that it wasn’t intended to be used to have discussions and that the brevity was what made it work for the short time it was a craze (and still is used by truckers).…And in fact the non truckers using it ended up being pretty annoying to those trying to use it in it’s original short form.

  31. dave

    BTW, I have another new Twitter-friendly product called Happy Friends.It’s a mailbox-style reader for Twitter. Makes it easy to keep track of a few people you care about a lot. Really great for following Fred, for example. ;-)Here’s a short video demo.…Hope you like! It’s at..

    1. PhilipSugar

      A serious, respectful question. Why do you develop for Twitter?

      1. LE

        Why do you develop for Twitter?I think Dave has a hobbyist nack and enjoyment for doing this type of thing.Kind of the same reason someone would ask why you renovated your home.It’s not just because you wanted a nice home and there was no other way to have a nice home without doing the work yourself. You just enjoy doing that type of thing it gives you pleasure. I’m guessing that is a large part of Dave’s motivation (which ties into getting positive feedback from others in his community).

        1. dave

          And making new community. 😉

      2. dave

        I don’t develop *for* Twitter, I develop to learn, and to create relationships with users. I’m looking for hits. Maybe it’ll happen using Twitter, maybe not. It’s all about trying new stuff out and seeing what happens. 😉

        1. PhilipSugar

          I poorly worded that. Thanks for the answer.

      3. sull

        Really its about where the most people are when it comes down to it. The experimental aspect is core. And sometimes things start out in a developers own isolated world with a few friends as users or even fake users. Proof of concepts, prototypes, scratching an itch, demos etc…. Its part of being a programmatic creator of things.Why use Twitter? You reach a point when without a community of people that could attach their behaviors, identities, interactions and of course valuable feedback…. its not worth it to tinker indefinately. This also depends on timing and what it is you are working on. But generally, thats why some choose to build on/for Twitter-like platforms with a mega userbase.I’ve always felt perplexed about Dave’s willingness to keep on doing Twitter apps despite understanding the logical reasons. That’s because my favorite aspects of Dave the Technologist are his beliefs in decentralized open loosely connected systems…. and Twitter just became something so uninteresting in that regard.M

  32. Richard

    Nooooo. The beauty of a great tweet is the thought that goes into making it 140 characters. Quality trumps quantity.(Btw, this an inherent feature in SMS protocol.) I for one find the numbering of the storm somewhere between depressing and frustrating, depending in who the sender is.

  33. Carlos Lima

    As a writer, Tweestorming is a fantastic way to express a stream of sequentially connected thoughts in a succinct and quick manner. Often times, 140 characters is not long enough and a full blog-post is too long and time consuming.As a reader, it’s great to read one thought at a time, so there’s enough time to process and digest one succinct thought before the next one comes in. Blogs tend to be a bit bloated (“blogted’?) sometimes with unnecessary intro, contextual and filler content.The downside of Tweestorming is that it may fall into elementary-school type of logic. Thought A leads to thought B, but since each thought is not fully developed, the connection between one thought and the next one can be very naive and totally biased.I would like Twitter to implement this feature. The main reason is that I use Twitter and I don’t want to to switch platforms whenever I want to write/read Tweetstorms.

  34. ErikSchwartz

    It’s going to be really hard to make the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.It really comes off as shelf space grab in your feed.

    1. LE

      And as everyone knows people pay for shelf space and that’s not a bad system either.

      1. ErikSchwartz

        I have a separate twitter account for following @pmarca he has his own column in tweetdeck. I mute him on @eriks and only unmute if I want to interact.

        1. LE

          I have a separate twitter account for following @pmarcaNot a twitter user but is there a way twitter could enable that functionality say with tabs that allowed you to group said “stormers”? So you don’t have to use the hack that you do?Linked in does this with “groups” (which they have been totally shoving off to the side it seems).I posted a few questions to the groups I was a member of and they show up under the groups menu choice (which is hidden now and the red headed step child apparently).

  35. Salt Shaker

    Don’t know about you, but I suddenly have a hankering for a Little Pork Chop. Plan to grill on the BBQ this evening and cut into 140 pieces.Tweetstorm–value and relevancy are self-policing.#muchadoaboutnothing

  36. William Gadea

    “Tweetstorm,” huh? Damn, I was hoping my coinage “Tweetise” would catch on. Seems especially apt when @pmarca is doing it.Yes, there is something special about numbered series of tweets. For me it’s not so much the immediacy, although that’s part of it. It’s that the format forces you into an epigrammatic style that’s interesting to read.One of Marc’s tweetises (I’m not surrendering) is about the power of unbundling. Twitter itself was an unbundling of the Facebook status line. I’m wondering if this is something that would profitably be unbundled, or whether it’s too niche for that. It seems to me that not just the form of writing, but the format for viewing has to change a bit for an optimal experience.

  37. Richard

    Let’s just make it a paid feature, it just as a good of an idea as the FCC’s Fast Lane net neutrality strategy.

  38. pointsnfigures

    1) Yes. Love it because there are a lot of ideas behind that 140 character stmt. Makes you think and do some research.2) Might as well try it. Would be cool if you doubleclicked on a tweet and the storm rolled out like a map and could roll back again. click on a link within the tweetstorm to see responses.3) If there is demand for it, then let people engineer around it.I like Andreessen and others getting active on Twitter with tweetstorms. It helps people learn or think about things critically, and it gives insight into how they think. Also, Twitter was originally a “microblog”. Tweetstorms make it a microblog.

    1. Andrew Kennedy

      Love the idea of click to expand for twitter storm and it Rollin out like a map. Doesn’t gum up the feed.

      1. fredwilson

        Me too

  39. ErikSchwartz

    An implementation that I believe would work in Twitter’s existing framework would be to make the first tweet basically be an index or a title tweet. If you are interested in the rest of the storm it is linked to on a separate pagelike pictures/video are now. The last thing that twitter needs is more overloading of @ or #. The rampant misunderstand of how those work is already a mess.None of this makes the mental model for using twitter easier. It only benefits the power users.

  40. Jan Schultink

    At the moment, Tweet storms look a bit like a poorly implemented Google Wave to me 🙂

  41. laurie kalmanson

    Discovery and sorting: The unfiltered stream is the collective mind unfolding like the AP wire; curation and selection are the tools that go with discovery and sorting.The genius thing about tweetdeck was prioritizing top 10 feeds I want to see all of — there’s the warm bath of the full stream and the serendipity and flow of it and then there are the specific voicesI mostly used Tweetdeck on laptop; it was unwieldy on iOSTablet version for tweet storms that separate them from the main feed and are consumable and sortable would accomplish curation, discovery and sorting as an alternate track to the main stream.Conference hAshtag follows like all hashtags that trend in real time are great as searched streams but not so much on the main feedTrending topics are nicely showcased on smart blogs with convos in disqus. You know where you are and what you want to read.

  42. Mark Birch

    Tweetstorming is spam. At least spam in the sense that it starts to jam my own experience with Twitter. The result is that I simply do not follow those folks, even if I would normally be inclined to follow them because they have interesting content to provide or insights to share.So what I am saying is that the content itself is not spam, but that the display and management mechanism is. Especially since like you, I use the Twitter Android client as my primary consumption vehicle, tweetstorms really interfere with my general usage.I do think however something can be added to Twitter to display and manage and record these more efficiently and elegantly. A third party separate from Twitter makes little sense (as in a Storify) because the experience is inherently part of the platform. If I have to leave Twitter to experience some element of it, then it becomes a chore.

    1. William Mougayar

      There is some truth in the fact that a Tweetstorm is a cope out to a blog post.

    2. LE

      At least spam in the sense that it starts to jam my own experience with Twitter.I figure no I reckon that is the reason why twitter has to think hard about adding this as a feature on twitter unless of course it becomes a pay product in order to keep away the spam aspect of it.

    3. MikeSchinkel

      @marksbirch:disqus – What if a Tweetstorm were only one entry in someone’s Twitter feed, one that kept moving forward as long as new tweets were being added? And one that you could hide if you cared not about it?

      1. Mark Birch

        That seems sensible. Indicate that something is a tweetstorm and the client then collapses that conversation into it’s own container.

        1. MikeSchinkel

          @marksbirch:disqus – So clearly if Twitter were to offer tools for and promote Tweetstorms then there would be some UX that would need to be addressed.

  43. bsoist

    1. I like that replies can be “attached” to a particular thought and discussions can branch that way. On the other hand, I really like seeing all the comments related to the whole idea in one place like you can have on a blog. I see a place for both, I guess.2. If you mean the ability to type a longer post in and click a button and have it “chopped” ala LPC, then no, not really. If you want to storm now, just break your thoughts up yourself and post in smaller chunks, right?3. Yes. I think third party apps should be able to do this before, during, and after Twitter implements its own feature.

  44. Druce

    Interesting emergent behavior but a UX catastrophe. In a tweetstorm, the individual tweets (truth lightning strikes/thunderclaps) are unrelated*. Also discovery/scalability with large numbers of replies is totally broken.Threading is hard. I guess maybe that’s the trilemma – context (linking to what you’re talking about), ability to read a coherent conversational train of comments in logical sequence, discovery (ranking most interesting popular comments)I still think reddit wins for scalability and RapGenius wins for engagement/context.*I guess you could reply without @replying and they would show up in sequence intermixed with replies.

  45. LE

    Dave then asked why I would want Twitter to build this when the functionality already exists and that would have negative consequences for the developers who had already been building and iterating on tools to solve this problem.Apple had wiped out companies in the 90’s that made high end graphics boards when they built that functionality into their motherboard. (Supermac, Rasterops etc.). Amazon does this with “Amazon Basics” an example being private labeling their own cable to get you to buy it instead of the one that is made by PNY. They use data they have access to to determine which products to try and knock off. That’s just off the top. There are other cases where this happens. [1]That’s business and the way business is. Did Dave miss the memo that things like this happen in business? Was their some implied or actual contract that twitter gave saying they wouldn’t do this? And if they did are you prepared to hire a lawyer and run it up a flag pole? From the outside, if something looks so simple “hey why don’t we do this” maybe there is something you are missing or you haven’t considered all angles. You know how there are things that seem simple until you try them? (Like playing piano until you actually sit at a piano vs. doing a backflip which doesn’t look simple even if you haven’t tried it.) Well business looks simple but there are many moving parts.I wrote back and said that I use Twitter’s Android app for almost all my tweeting and consumption and I really want everything to be right in that app and not have to mess around with third party tools to get what I want out of Twitter.You didn’t answer his question though.That’s fine because if you said what I just said you’d get into trouble. Maybe you can be a politician after all. Just make sure to start your reply with “that’s a very good point Dave”Which begs an age old question about platforms and the developers who hack around them. And, of course, this age old question has been front and center in the discussion about Twitter since it first emerged back in 2006.Companies are always going to want to reserve the right to be able to add features to their products that they see as useful. I don’t think it needs to be even mentioned so that people who just fell off the turnip truck who didn’t get the message know that is the case. Dave should have picked this up that it’s not about him and the developers it’s about business and twitter has mouths to feed.[1] Oh yeah, the rich guy in my neighborhood (the donut king) who went bankrupt when Acme decided to bake stuff in house. And he lost his big customer.

    1. LE

      Add: And Dave is not one of those people who just fell off the turnip truck so I’m wondering why he didn’t realize things like this happen and will continue to happen. Dave?

    2. hangtime79

      Microsoft for years has embraced and extended those tools and features that would be helpful for the entire user community…yet people still develop for the Windows platform? Why?While yes Microsoft may embrace and extend your technique or tool, you will still be able to compete with Microsoft – even though you may ultimately may not make it.To analogize, Twitter is the equivalent of Microsoft releasing Media Player and Microsoft then banning all other audio programs. In that case, we would never have seen the entire ecosystem of MP3, Ogg Vorbis, and other media applications which is exactly where we are with Twitter, a complete lack of innovation.

      1. LE

        Microsoft sells to end user who pay them for Microsoft products.As such sucking up to developers was more important and in fact the ubiquitous “computer guy” was the one who kept end users buying Microsoft products. Because they always got a taste. So Microsoft had to be more careful in how they approached this problem.Twiiter is paid money by a different master not the same situation. The nuance is very different.

  46. LE

    1/ Do you agree that Tweetstorming has some unique characteristics that make it different and possibly better in some ways than traditional blogging?Yes. And that actually should be an entirely different product spun off by twitter. It shouldn’t be wrapped into the twitter product or done by third party developers (see last answer below).2/ Do you agree that Twitter should productize Tweetstorming, like they have done with @replies, #hashtags, and RTs, which also emerged organically from the user base?Would rather see it as a separate product. 2nd would be to make $$ money from it which at the very least would cut down on the spam aspect where the whole product goes four two oh.3/ Do you think that third party tools such as Little Pork Chop should be allowed to satisfy this use case in lieu of Twitter building it natively into their apps?As long as twitter decides that it doesn’t degrade the twitter product and experience. But that’s twitter’s business decision not Dave’s or any other developers.

  47. Emily Merkle

    1/1 Tweetstorming is concise, better fitting the medium than linking to a blog.1/2 I don’t know what “productize” means. 1/3 Little Pork Chop does the job well. Why task Twitter further? This enhances TW without addt’l load.

  48. Frank W. Miller

    No, no, and who cares. My view is twitter is a fad. The 140 character limit based originally is an arcane number in the telco SS7 protocol has taken on a life of its own and is an obstacle in my view. Its artificial for no good reason. So now Dave has come up with a little tool that firehoses past the limit. Yawn. Is that what programmers have come to now? It used to be that we’d do monumental things like whole new interfaces or whole new operating systems, or whole new hardware developments or whatever. Now millions are poured into things like chat variation du jour or getting around a stupid little limit on the size of messages. There’s obviuosly way too much money sloshing around looking for investments in what is a much more mature industry that it used to be…

    1. LE

      Not speaking for Dave but I think Dave does this because he can (dog licking his balls). I think he enjoys doing this type of thing. I think Dave is going to work on things that he gets some inspiration for regardless of whether Hal (Twitter) ends up opening the pod bay doors or not.

      1. Frank W. Miller

        I’m not being critical of Dave, he just doing what user’s do. He’s doing something to get around the silly artificial limit. That’s the point. Here we’ve got somebody of Dave’s calibre, and he’s spending his time doing something as trivial as a tool to get around a 140 characters? And that draws the attention of a powerful VC like Fred? And they’ve got it wrapped up in a marketing term like “tweetstorming” so now its guaranteed to take up countless blog and comment spaces over the next week? Just doesn’t have the same feel of world changingness that I got when I heard about Windows for the first time, or the web, or the iPhone. Get it?

        1. LE

          I’m not being critical of DaveTo wit, you are actually: Here we’ve got somebody of Dave’s calibre, and he’s spending his time doing something as trivial as a tool to get around a 140 characters?I’d say the use of “trivial” and “Dave’s calibre” rises to the level of “why are you wasting your time on this” like a parent scolding a child that they are “playing” instead of studying.And that draws the attention of a powerful VC like Fred?Fred is in the business of making money for his investors. That is what he is doing here. Put coin in the pocket. If he achieves some other goal that’s icing on the cake.Likewise if you are critical of Dave wasting his time on this triviality, why not be critical if he wastes his time watching football on tv or reading a fiction book? If Dave did that it would be for enjoyment and that would be ok, right?Just doesn’t have the same feel of world changingness that I got when I heard about Windows for the first time, or the web, or the iPhone. Get it?So what is it? Fred and Dave are in the public trust and have to spend their time on serious things while you (according to your avatar at least) get to play guitar? How life changing is that? There are more than enough people who produce music my guess is that you do it for your enjoyment, right? [1]I get the point about “triviality”. I think people who stand in a big crowd getting drunk and watching a soccer game that they never thought about before or aren’t fans of doesn’t make sense. But in their brain it makes them happy so I say go with it. This makes Dave happy. And look at all the attention he is getting today. It’s not like everyone knows who Dave is.[1] Want to be clear that I really wish I could do that by the way. Play guitar or piano.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            Be wise, pick piano since nearly all of classical music was written on piano, even the orchestral music. I worked on violin, which is a good second choice, but piano makes more sense. Maybe now a still better choice is based on a computer and software; if I get back to music, then that’s what I will do.

    2. MikeSchinkel

      @fwmiller:disqus – The “arcane” limit of Twitter is what made Twitter so successful (IMO.) Twitter forces us to embrace constraints and thus liberates creativity.I tweet 100x as often as I blog because of the limit, and Twitter’s 140 limit has made me a much better writer (and many other’s too, I’m sure) because using Twitter has forced me to be concise (although I revert when writing comments on blogs!)Don’t dismiss an attribute as an obstacle until you’ve fully understood its beneficial ramifications.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Sure, the 140 limit had some benefit over no limit. But no limit was not the only alternative.There would’a, could’a, should’a been better design with better ‘constraints’ that were at least as good and otherwise better on all criteria. Better work — that’s what Miller is saying, right?This 140 character thing quickly got relaxed to permit pictures. Twitter is a goofy thing; clearly it does address a real need, but tough to believe that it meets that real need, whatever it is, nearly as well as possible.I’ve never used Twitter, am not much interested in it, have other interests, so won’t try to think how to improve Twitter, but people interested in Twitter might want to do that, and there Miller’s remarks seem good to me.

        1. MikeSchinkel

          sigmaalgebra – Everything can always be “better.” Doesn’t mean that those who didn’t implement perfection should be dinged for it (“perfection” by definition being impossible.)”I’ve never used Twitter, am not much interested in it,”And therein is the crux. I care less for spectator sports; as such I don’t comment on things of interest to sports fans.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            I didn’t mention “perfection”.The root of this subtree is Miller’s comment, and it was about software design and project selection which are topics I am interested in and have long and current experience with. Miller was asking for more significant projects, not necessarily “perfection”, and I believe that his point is well taken and, of course, one I’m interested in; there the design of Twitter is a special case.You seem to urge me not to comment on something I’m not interested in; okay. Still, I’m interested in software design and project selection where Twitter is an example. Moreover, the design of Twitter is the main interest of this post of Fred’s. Twitter is a phenomenon, I believe difficult to explain, where lots of people might be interested in its design even if they are not interested in using Twitter themselves or trying to contribute to its design. So, I don’t believe I did anything improper.And for Twitter, I did not propose changes, said nothing about “perfection”, and on details of Twitter design did step aside with> won’t try to think how to improve Twitter, but people interested in Twitter might want to do that, and there Miller’s remarks seem good to me.

          2. MikeSchinkel

            sigmaalgebraI didn’t mention “perfection”.You implied perfection when you wrote this:”There would’a, could’a, should’a been better design with better ‘constraints’ that were at least as good and otherwise better on all criteria. “—-“The root of this subtree is Miller’s comment, and it was about software design and project selection which are topics I am interested in and have long and current experience with.”And my comment, to which you replied, was challenging his premise that “The 140 character limit and … Its artificial for no good reason”.You are certainly free to discuss aspects of the comment from the head of the comment tree when replying to me instead of replying to aspects of my comment but doing so results in a confusing thread of people talking past each other, which is not the best if clear communications is desired.If you wanted to talk about other aspects of Frank Miller’s comment, why not reply to his comment or some of the other comments that may have addressed those other aspects?

    3. fredwilson

      Most fads don’t last eight years and going and keep growing strongly in their ninth year

  49. Andrew Kennedy

    I am a fan of tweetstorms. Would much rather get a push notification Person X is doing a tweetstorm than “@wp and @schlaf are talking about 2014 FiFA WORLD CUP”, which is the notification I just got from twitter. The twitter notifications I have been getting recently have been irrelevant and annoying and are greatly diminishing the value of the product for me. I’d much rather tune into a tweetstorm than to butt into people I don’t knows twitter convo about soccer. Just my 2 pesos.

  50. Stephen Bradley

    The challenge is bigger than “Tweetstorming”… it’s about being able to tell a coherent, in-context story over time and across social media platforms. And it’s about being able to include a community in the telling of the story.This isn’t really core to Twitter’s articulated strategy to date. Twitter continues to make an excellent pipe – but the needs for how to present content at the other end are far too varied for Twitter to cover all. Tweetstorming is just one (very good) example.

  51. Nathan Hangen

    Twitter spent a lot of time wiping out the applications and developers in their ecosystem, so I’m surprised that companies continue to develop new applications knowing what the future holds.Fred was on the board during this culling, and this post typifies the thinking that led to those results. Therefore, it’s not surprising at all to read these thoughts.That said, I find Tweetstorms to be spammy and self-aggrandizing, and I suspect most of the Twitter common folk feel the same. The use case is too niche to make sense as a core feature.

  52. ShanaC

    Isn’t a tweetstorm basically a one paragraph blogpost?This is an area which I’ve felt facebook is much better with. They’ve always had a much longer character limit, allowing for longer thought. Twitter forces you to condense down too much sometimes.That said, twitter can be a far better engagement tool. I wish they’d drop the character length thing because both reading and writing tweetstorms are annoying

  53. Mario Cantin

    I think Twitter should stay put with regards to TS at the moment. As someone who mainly consumes content on Twitter and does not tweet much, I find them rather annoying — speaking for myself, and I certainly wouldn’t want to see them proliferate.I can grant the right to Marc Andreessen to pollute my feed with them as his own personal idiosyncrasy, but anyone else I would unfollow ‘en mass’.Just as spam is the wrong use of a medium (place a proper ad somewhere, don’t email me unsollicitated offers), tweetstorms IMO are like trying to jam an entire blog post in the wrong place.For now, those who wish to do so should use Little Pork Chop, et al.If eventually the users largely demand that it be productized by Twitter, then the latter should really take the time to find out how to build it in a way that won’t piss off the bulk of their users.

  54. Frank Wu

    1/ Tweetstorms are fascinating! What’s most interesting to me is how they’re edited and validated by the crowd as they’re being written, which causes the author’s writing process to be amplified and shared with the crowd.2/ I don’t think so. They’ve already built new features in response to tweetstorming like mute, threaded tweets, collapsing replies in the feed, but I think productizing the full-on “tweetstorm” makes Twitter too noisy and too confusing for new and casual users. What I think Twitter does well is that its simple platform is extremely malleable for power users, but still simple enough for everyone else.btw, both comments above originated as tweets of mine:(1)…(2)

  55. Danielle Morrill

    I blogged about this a bit here, and still very much hope Twitter will productize Timelines to allow for tweetstorming http://www.daniellemorrill….I think the most important thing for a good tweetstorm is that each idea stand on its own, even if the reader doesn’t see any of the other messages.

    1. LE

      I think the most important thing for a good tweetstorm is that each idea stand on its own, even if the reader doesn’t see any of the other messages.How do you get that to happen though? The majority of users won’t follow any rules and no algorithm can enforce that.As an related example, I frequently see disqus comments way down in a thread that don’t paraphrase and quote what they are replying to. (Disqus could actually do something about this of course). Or make a point w/o quoting and so you don’t know the context and probably aren’t going to take the time to figure it out either.

  56. Brad Lindenberg

    I always ask people if they are building a product, or a feature.A tweet storm summarisation function is essentially a feature, not a new product offering, so I suspect it should be part of the core offering from Twitter however Tweet storms are a workaround for the limit of 140 characters, so the real question is whether Twitter wants to endorse this behaviour…

  57. Stephen Bradley

    Fred, here’s your Tweetstorm presented as a story in @AuthorBee……. Any continuations or new threads (in-app or by reply Tweet mentioning @AuthorBee) will be Tweeted and added in-context to your story. Better still: your own “channel” for stories about #Tweetstorming…… .

    1. rich caccappolo

      Stephen has been thinking about and developing a collaborative storytelling platform for a few years now. I doubt anyone has thought through and tested ideas in this arena in more depth than Stephen. Last year he ported his knowledge and experience (and product) to work within twitter. He was talking about tweetstorming before anyone, including Kanye. If you’re interested in this topic you should check out the links he posted above – and twitter should hire him!

    2. fredwilson

      Hi StephenAuthorBee looks interesting. I will poke around on it

      1. Stephen Bradley

        Our immediate focus is working with brands in a PaaS model. What’s live is a precursor to a public site engaging hashtag communities – kind of a mix of Reddit, Rebel Mouse and Medium, where context is king. About to raise a seed – would love the opportunity to tell you more.

          1. Stephen Bradley

            Agree with your editorial – tho not that brand-first necessarily becomes services vs. software. That’s also about discipline – but a definite risk. AuthorBee is naturally user-first (and mobile-first), but we need funding to get there and for that we feel pressure to get to revenue quicker. Dilemma.

          2. fredwilson

            That’s what drives entrepreneurs to brands. I understand that. But it makes me unlikely to fund them once they’ve done that

          3. Stephen Bradley

            Well… timing is perfect so catch us now, before it’s too late. Can I come show you more?

          4. fredwilson

            pls send me an email. my contact info is on the about page of this blog

          5. Stephen Bradley

            Imagine these threads embedded IN your Tweetstorm story. Every contribution in context, and every contribution a social post that could have been posted here or natively. Now imagine every reader coming into the story being able to turn on/off different threads, contributors or individual posts for themselves – tracking, sharing and adding to the version of the story uniquely interesting to them. New readers coming in could see the whole story, or choose between personally curated subsets, weeding out the noise and getting quickly to just what is most likely to matter to them.

    3. Emily Merkle

      Stephen, how can I create a channel?

      1. Stephen Bradley

        Right now we control that. Just register with your Twitter account and then let me know what that is and what hashtag you want for your channel.

        1. Emily Merkle

          already registered. @MerkleMerkle hashtag #wecanwewillwearethank you!

          1. Stephen Bradley

            Done – find it here……. You can add your own custom header image and channel description, as well as decide which stories are featured. Happy to help if you have any questions – hit me up on Twitter @StephenTBradley. Have fun!

          2. Emily Merkle

            Appreciate it, Stephen.

  58. daryn

    Not a huge fan of tweetstorms, in their current form they feel like the twitter equivalent of someone who won’t give up the mic at karaoke night.Personally, I appreciate a narrative form or long-form video/audio for someone trying to convey a series of thoughts. Tweetstorms are basically someone communicating in nothing but soundbites, which is great for inducing conversation, but loses a lot of the nuance and detail that makes original thought so interesting.

    1. Drew Meyers

      well said. this world is far too cluttered with soundbites already… we don’t need more of them.

  59. bobmonsour

    1/ Yes, I do believe that TS’ing is different from blogging. It’s easier to do “on the run” as well. According to Twitter, 78% of their active users are on mobile. See:…2/ I do think that Twitter should productize TS’ing. It feels a bit like #hashtags and it would be nice to be able to aggregate all the tweets of a storm with a quick tap or click. The simplicity of the n/ syntax would be great. I don’t think you really need n/m as when you’re doing it, it may be tough to predict how many you’ll do.3/ There’s no reason for 3rd party apps not to do this (in advance of Twitter) doing it. Given the predominance of mobile use, 3rd party apps may not get much use as it requires the user to think bring up a separate app when all they want to do is Tweet(storm).

  60. lydiasugarman

    As I understand from the definitions found online (…, what you did yesterday is not a Tweetstorm but something that could be called “twitterature.”… or even Tweetblogging or Tweetreportage.This doesn’t invalidate this technical discussion. However, what is being suggested seems completely counter to what is intrinsically Twitter – 140 character micro-blogs.

  61. sigmaalgebra

    To me, the main issue is just what the heck is the best path to good tools?Sorry, but mobile is so constrained in various ways that is at best a peripheral path to only a narrowly focused collection of good tools.For good tools, here Fred is just asking too much of mobile and its path.For now, my path to good tools is a desktop PC running Windows with a lot of software. Commonly when I want another tool, I write an editor macro, a command line script, or an EXE program.For good tools, in my kitchen I don’t want an onion chopper, a tomato slicer, a potato cuber, or a cabbage shredder and, instead, use a good tool — a French chef’s knife and a cutting board. I don’t want a hot dog cooker and, instead, use a pot with boiling water, a frying pan, or a charcoal grill, depending on what I want.Lesson: Generally don’t want overly specialized tools; life is easier with good tools that have broader applicability.Broadly the secret of a tool easy to use is not one that does the user a lot of favors, automatically or not, or tries to ‘anticipate’ what a user might want and, instead, is a tool that does definite operations easy to consider.Similarly with computing.Mobile app designers: Sorry, but for a user interface, I just want standard HTTP, HTML, CSS, and a Web browser. No, for each Web site I visit with a Web browser, I don’t want unique app instead of the Web browser. One Web browser for 100+ million Web sites? Tough to beat that! Right: I don’t want 100+ million apps on my computer.OT, for something intense and disciplined, with continuing urgency, often unbelievably gorgeous, with soaring and plunging lines and vividly contrasting colors, sure, of course, a crown jewel of civilization, Samuel Barber’s ‘Adagio for Strings’ from some serious musicians from Japan:…And apparently that piece leads to a ‘play list’ of at least some more good music, e.g., the famous Borodin ‘Dances’.

  62. MikeSchinkel

    fredwilson – I definitely agree that Twitter should build better tools around this, and I also want them to be part of Twitter and not a 3rd party.However, I’d really like to see platforms engage the 3rd party and provide a financial benefit to those who invest time and effort. I don’t know what the number is, but why not have offer Dave Winer $100k (or some other appropriate but at least significant amount) to be help Twitter design and promote the new feature set?Rather than an acquisition treat it as a bonus for successful innovation on the platform. $100k would be a huge win for many people, but a drop in the bucket for companies that often do M&A in the $billions.

  63. falicon

    I wrote a twitter hack *way* back in the early days of twitter that was called … it was a ‘people first’ view of twitter, which essentially is what little pork chop is now…it was def. great for consuming ‘noisy’ people and it had a lot of interesting uses, but ultimately it was *very* hard to get the mainstream attention for (too early in the twitter days, people didn’t even understand twitter itself yet — but also just too different of a use case for twitter than people wanted at the time; not sure it’s much different these days really).So overall I think if you want it to be a long term success/wide-spread feature, it will need to be supported native…otherwise having it supported by 3rd party (like little pork chop) is fine, but I believe will be niche at best.

  64. Ana Milicevic

    1/ I do think tweetstorming is unique –> it’s a great way to post some ideas and get immediate feedback especially when you’re on the go (mobile rules here). However, weeding through that feedback is not exactly easy since replies come to different tweetstorm tweets. I’d love to have the ability to export a tweetstorm into something like Medium with annotation preserved (e.g. replies to individual tweets in the tweetstorm autoport as annotations).2/ No – it’s too early for this. I would rather see them focus on improving existing functionality for mainstream users (excellent example would be new hashtag pages like this one:…. Leave new and niche functionality to platform developers and select professional Twitter clients for the time-being.3/ Yes – Twitter is a platform. A strong developer ecosystem on top of the platform will ensure that Twitter can continue to evolve and satisfy the needs of every type of user (while the Twitter team understandably maintains focus on mainstream users). It will be interesting to see how many monetization options emerge for specialized applications built on top of Twitter.Also #WeWant8 😉

  65. ThatAdamGuy

    I find tweetstorming to be highly annoying. Everytime I see one — regardless of the source — I want to shout: “Stop being lazy. USE A BLOG!”It reminds me of the distinction between voicemail and texting. For the person leaving a message, it’s can be more efficient to use the former. But it’s basically a poke in the eye for the *listener* who almost certainly would prefer a text (barring certain communications requiring tone of voice). I suppose there might be some who prefer (or, in the case of hearing from a smart and famous person, tolerate) tweetstorming vs. blogging. But I would imagine that most people would honestly prefer reading things in ‘real’ paragraph form.Same with tweetstorming. It’s more convenient for the poster, because they don’t have to think of a blog title, actually spend time crafting a coherent, flowing, and well-formatted message. But it’s typically a subpar experience for the reader; the sentences may be interspersed with someone’s cat eating a cheese sandwich post, there are no formatting options which may improve readability, and conversations off of individual tweets are just a big, lacking-context hairball.Speaking of conversations… trying to have a thoughtful discussion about a serious topic on Twitter is like trying to do so in person when at least half the participants are drunk and/or hard of hearing. You get misunderstandings that are hard to correct, concepts that are clearly impossible to convey even in a few tweets, and people often reduced to zinging literal one liners back and forth in an effort to see who can be the cleverest. You get heat, but very rarely light.I understand that the world has gotten faster and busier. I used to write frequently in my blog and I’m ashamed that I’ve largely fallen off the wagon. Heck, I tweet more than I blog, and I find this embarrassing and regretful.But I find it even more shameful that so many seek to find ways to hack a medium that irreparably cripples substantive communication, rather than improve on a more proven platform (blogging) that was designed for exposition and threaded discussion.Lastly, one might ask, if what I say is true… why is Twitter increasing in popularity while both writing and (I think) reading of blogs is dwindling? IMHO, it’s because RSS was always too geeky to take off, and hence *discovery* of blogs and blogposts is seriously lacking today. Who is going to have the patience to engage in longform posting when they see little hope in ever attracting an audience beyond their two best friends and their mom? At least with Twitter, you’re out 30 seconds to a minute or two. Risk of underexposure for your conversation might be just as high for someone starting out, but the barrier to entry and participation is a whole lot lower.

    1. Greg Cox

      This resonates with me. But I also find that Twitter’s 140 character limit (1) lowers the barrier to saying something and (2) forces one to lose the fluff and extract the essence of a point.Multi-part tweetstorms loosen the restriction a bit, but generally stay clear and concise.Maybe what we need is a complementary blogging format that is constrained to bulleted lists with a 140 char limit on each bullet.

  66. Greg Cox

    Little Pork Chop is a cool idea and makes creation of tweetstorms more convenient. But I don’t think the real problem is with creation, but rather with consumption. There is a strong negative reaction from the consumers of tweetstorms in a way that I can’t remember seeing for other emergent features on Twitter.Many reactions are along the lines of tweetstorms being obnoxious. Personally, when I see one my first involuntary reaction is annoyance. It has something to do with someone taking over so much of my visible feed. It feels like an imposition. @kirklove’s “loud person at a cocktail party” description captures it well. Also, Twitter’s logic for creating threads seems to struggle with long sequences of tweets connected by replies. e.g.…Unexpected emergent features are cool but sometimes they play havoc with the product designer’s intentions.So this needs a solution in the consumption experience, which implies that it is something only Twitter can do effectively. Sure, one of the other clients could innovate, but a true solution will go across the core experience and only Twitter can do that.Which means this is a question of whether Twitter should expand its model to include longer form, multi-part content. This would be a fundamental change that goes to the core nature of Twitter. Very risky. On the other hand, all products need to evolve. And there might be a nice solution that addresses the underlying need (some way to define non-reply relationships between tweets) without sacrificing the beautiful simplicity of the product.

    1. fredwilson


  67. Dasher

    I do text storms all the time on my mobile phone – I always thought it is an interesting way to communicate. Tweetstorms take it from 1 to 1 to 1 to many.

  68. Kabeer

    Hey Fred, Think the most important point you made was the real-time nature of the thought-process –…Its remarkably different than anything have seen before – the fact that users can contribute and comment to any particular thought has a “Medium” like quality. Twitter should definitely productize it. Though a tap to separate view, rather than all of it in an un-interested users TL would be helpful.

  69. DJ Orman

    The fact that you have to “Tweet Storm”, and jumble coherent messages into several non-coherent messages is the reason that Twitter should be used solely for Breaking News, and linking to articles. NOT FOR TRYING TO GET REAL MESSAGES OUT THERE. Look what the guys from Harvest Exchange ( just built. It solves all of these problems in the finance / investing world. Much better search/filtering technology to allow for real conversations and communication, unlike Twitter which is only point in time, if you miss it its gone.

  70. Ossy

    Think Buffer. Is Tweetstorming really in demand? Should demand be considered by an innovative product? Just get Twitter to acquire Little Pork Chop, problem solved and everyone is happy 🙂

  71. Lawrence Abeyta

    1) I agree that Tweetstorms have a unique characteristic that make it uniquely different than blogging. Blogging seems very static, one sided, and can get very long. The Tweet limit forces the author to be concise, it feels more conversational (live), and has threads through the conversation. Love it.2)There is an opportunity for Twitter to add a social feature that isn’t filled very well in the market. An elegant thread UI that could give thread depth could be easily implemented.3)I wouldn’t use a 3rd party tool for this; it’s a feature on an existing platform, so using 3rd party would only make it harder to use. I’d rather see developers creating new platforms rather than just adding conveniences to existing.

  72. David A. Frankel

    I am actually not a big fan of the tweetstorm, so I don’t think twitter should productize it at all. In my mind, it’s akin to allowing cellphone use on airplanes — there are some people who can make quick, quiet important calls, but my fear is that a large majority of people will be loud and bothersome.Same thing with tweetstorms — I understand that some people like @pmarca prefer this to blogging, and due to his influence and status it has become a “thing”, but I think formalizing tweetstorms is just asking for Twitter to become more spam ridden than it already is.I also believe asking Twitter to productize something like this would ruin what makes it a great information sharing platform. Twitter is an efficient information distribution platform, not one for constructing and authoring thoughts. I believe the tweetstorm could drive more people away from Twitter than attract them.I suppose if there is a real need (not sure if this was mentioned in any of the comments), then perhaps a blogging platform like Medium could create functionality that allows you to tag paragraphs of a written blog post to sequentially tweet them out as part of a tweetstorm (as opposed to one link to the entire post). That could satisfy the need without Twitter having to distract itself.

    1. MikeSchinkel

      @davidafrankel:disqus – If a Tweetstorm were condensed by Twitter to occupy the position of a single tweet that could be expanded, would that not address your issues with the idea?

      1. David A. Frankel

        Mike, not a bad idea, but I am not sure it does. While it may reduce the number of individual spammy tweets in my timeline, I would bet that the average tweet would be of the expanded type. If they were going to do that, why not just increase the character limit? My issues aren’t all technical — I think this type of product enhancement would mark a departure for Twitter from a distribution platform to a content creation/management platform. It would make it more like Tumblr in my opinion, and I am not sure that is where it should be.

        1. MikeSchinkel

          @davidafrankel:disqus – “why not just increase the character limit?” From my perspective that would remove the structure and constraints that have been a key to Twitter’s success. A Tweetstorm offers similar structure per bullet point, and thus I see as valuable. Removing the limit removes the structure and constraints, and I’d see that as killing the golden goose. But then, it’s only one man’s opinion.

  73. susan joseph

    Fred, I am glad you brought this discussion up front. As a newer twitter user, I prefer everything embedded. It is just easier. One stop shopping usually is, and it works better from the user perspective.As far as tweetstorming, when properly done,, I think it is a great innovation. It seems the more tech we adopt which is passive in nature, the more we want real conversation and contact. Think about how energized, and good you feel after engaging in a good conversation. You know which ones I mean. You walk away engaged, happy, usually thinking about what the other person has said and have had the opportunity to connect and really listen to another person who means something to you either initially or by virtue of that conversation.This is just my observation, but I think we crave this connection with others in a good way, and tweetstorming is the closest tech thing you can have to a real time conversation in the twitter arena that has some emotional grab and back and forth. .I am reminded of the advice I received when my children were much younger and we were told to actively engage their minds and specifically told NOT to place them in front of the TV for too long because it was too passive and would not stimulate thinking or emotional development or our relationship with them. If tech interactions in adults are largely passive, is that what we want and where we want our society and culture to head? Just asking.I would love some feedback. This is, hopefully, after all, a conversation!

  74. Pankaj Garg

    I believe twitter should allow 3rd party developers to embed their product seamlessly into the twitter app/website.. that will make things much better and maybe i will start using the product more often..

  75. Adrian Chenault

    The difficult problem to solve here is not composition (problem being tackled by LPC), but consumption. It’s really difficult to follow the thread in a tweetstorm, and even more difficult in the current Twitter UI where it gets threaded and @ replies show in-line as you’re trying to read it.The problem can be solved one of two ways: (1) natively in the Twitter app or (2) a standalone app to replace native Twitter app, which I don’t think is a good solution. Twitter has a great opportunity here because they actually are the only ones positioned to take this mainstream, by giving users control over how/whether they want to consume tweetstorms. I think you could allow customers to enable/disable them both in general and at a user level, and change the UI to make them easier to follow. Both would be a huge improvement.

  76. JamesHRH

    Law of Unintended Consequences Alert!!!pmarcA tweetstorms brilliant because he is brilliant.I would not touch this with a 1000′ pole if I was DickC & I would be ready to ban it too!

  77. andrewparker

    Twitter is great because I define the content based on who I follow. I noticed a bunch of tweet storming after Marc Andreessen started the trend. I found it spammy and unsettling at first. But then I found a very simple answer: unfollow. My first “unfollow” button push felt uncomfortable… but now I’m on a tear. If I see someone clogging up my feed with a storm more than once, and I find the content at all “blah” then I unfollow them. Works great, no product mods needed.How I learned to stop worrying and love the unfollow.

  78. Svetoslav Blyahov

    I am not quite sure about these tweetstorms. It seems like a lot of spam to me. I think the brevity of your thoughts in twitter is essential. That’s what makes Twitter unique.

  79. riemannzeta

    I don’t get it. I feel like I’ve never had a problem following a tweet storm with native twitter.

  80. JimHirshfield

    Why? It’s all about execution, not ideas. Right?If Twitter wants to steal other people’s ideas, all that Twitter loses is trust. And that’s costly for Twitter, as we discussed on AVC the other day.But you can’t stop companies from innovating, when most of innovation is riffing off of other’s ideas.

  81. Aaron Klein

    Whoa. We’re for software patents now? Or was this sarcastic?

  82. fredwilson

    You can’t patent emergent behavior of ussrs . users were doing this long before anyone built tools to support it

  83. MikeSchinkel

    @ccrystle:disqus – Spoken like someone who has been there… 😉

  84. hangtime79

    Jim,Don’t think you understand. Twitter is a bad actor. Its not just they incorporate others ideas. They actively discourage/impede/close the platform from which they copy. So its not a “Let’s compete on who has the best user experience” its a “I’m taking your idea then I’m kicking you off, severely limiting your ability to innovate, or grow in the future”. That’s what people have a problem with when it comes to Twitter and its behavior.

  85. Matt A. Myers

    It’s not costly really to them – that’s the value of having a large network of engaged users. And they’re not doing anything against the consumer, to a few developers – so it’s only a tiny fraction of people who are going to care what Twitter does with “stealing” ideas.

  86. LE

    Why? It’s all about execution, not ideas. Right?Exactly. Build a better Italian Restaurant [1] and they will beat a path to your door. Tell a better joke with better delivery and timing and you can be the next Carson.[1] Note that people who are all stuck on “ideas” as being all important typically ignore trying to simply execute on a idea that is well known to be successful if it is done better than the other guy. Execute a better Italian restaurant and you will make money.

  87. Jim Canto

    Is there a possible “play” here where platforms such as Twitter could reward third-party developers when a concept they develop around becomes so mainstream that the platform decides it is in it’s user’s best interest to have that functionality native to their core feature set? Can that reward maybe be in the form of a “joint venture” or “equity?”I agree with Jim here. Is there a scenario where no party loses? What would work?

  88. JimHirshfield

    I agree with you more than you agree with you ;-)I’m taking the position that this behavior of theirs can’t be regulated – despite how wrong we feel it is, and in essence they act poorly at their own expense.So, I don’t like it any more than you do. But I hope they’ve changed their behavior – or will soon – based on the eroded trust and goodwill it’s caused.

  89. Richard

    Might be worth watching Fred’s blog post from yesterday. Twitter has grown up.

  90. Richard

    Glass houses.

  91. JimHirshfield


  92. hangtime79

    So Rich how would you explain the growing up in the face of the purchase of GNip to investors and customers of Datasift? Twitter and Apple have been BFFs then Topsy gets purchased by their BFF and suddenly they feel compelled to purchase a firm that now puts them into competition. They actively invited outsiders to invest and build a business in the space and said they would not play in the space. Now, once again Twitter puts itself into competition with once was its friends. @fredwilson:disqus would you or are you actively investing funds in a start-up that are tangentially attached to Twitter? My guess, probably not.

  93. LE

    I think he is serious.But I totally don’t agree with anything that comes close to the “I thought of it first so stay the fuck out” doctrine.I would probably eliminate the majority of patents for most things. [1] I hate the fact that because someone merely thinks of something they get to wrap it up and prevent others from doing the same. So what if you “invented” the coffee sleeve? Big deal. You are still probably going to invent the coffee sleeve even if you don’t get a patent.People put effort into things all the time where someone else might make their efforts null. Like compete for a sports team, a marathon or the Olympics. If you want a guarantee buy a toaster.[1] The only exception would be if there was some really fair licensing that came with the patent but there is probably no practical way to actually do something like that.

  94. Aaron Klein

    I dreamed up self driving cars without a steering wheel when I was 12. Pay up, Google.

  95. JimHirshfield

    It’s all about the puttanesca, amirite?

  96. Matt A. Myers

    A restaurant is a physical location, a platform has no location – that’s apples and oranges. How about we take the alternate view that without the ideas there isn’t execution possible at all?

  97. LE

    Thanks as always for the soft ball.I always get an extra side of the puttanesca sauce. Then I slop it on the crusty Italian bread.Combine it with a bone and you have a meal.Almost as funny as you Jim:

  98. JimHirshfield

    No argument there. However, an influential, albeit small, group such as developers can have a disproportionately high impact on their reputation, as we’ve seen.

  99. leigh

    Now there’s an interesting thought as emergent behaviour continues to drive innovation…

  100. JimHirshfield

    I think Twitter could reward in many ways. In some cases they’ve bought the other company. Other than that, I’m not aware.

  101. MikeSchinkel

    @jimcanto:disqus – Agreed 100%. I think it would be very enlightened of companies like Twitter to create a lightweight model in addition to M&A with high probability that generating positive metrics would (mostly) guarantee a positive financial outcome where guidance is provided by the platform companies, in advance.

  102. Matt A. Myers

    Perhaps similar to bug bounty rewards given @mikeschinkel:disqus @ccrystle:disqus

  103. Michael Elling

    Good idea and consistent with notion of developing app constellations. Trying to silo highly variable and marginal demand is a mistake. Twitter should be looking for ways to spread the wealth via API and have innovators on the fringe develop new pockets of demand to monetize.Most people in the IP world, with their bill and keep mentality, don’t fully appreciate the power of settlements; aka reciprocal compensation in the PSTN world. The latter were distorted over time by political and monopoly interests. Future market-driven balanced settlements (APIs at every layer and boundary point) can serve as price signals and incentives.A mathematical relationship can be shown that a correspondingly larger terminating settlement from a larger to smaller player is actually more beneficial to the larger player’s value. It’s the difference between linear and geometric growth; aka the network effect. Unfortunately conventional thinking holds that the larger player should demand a disproportionately larger settlement from the smaller player, which reduces network effect.App ecosystems are a good place to start but we need to go farther down in the stack to control, switching and transport layers to solve pressing infrastructure access issues uniformly and efficiently to get to a mobile, gigabit future to support 4K VoD, 2-way HD collaboration, seamless mobile BB, and the IoT.

  104. Aaron Klein

    So would Friendster have been protected from MySpace, or Blogger been protected from Twitter, or Siebel been protected from Salesforce? These are all ripoffs.This seems similar to my support for ending all world hunger everywhere, or eliminating unemployment forever. Touching sentiment, but no basis in reality.Am I missing something from what you’re saying?

  105. Aaron Klein

    I’m using an example to try to understand if what you said was an idealistic phrase or a workable, real-world proposal to promote innovation.

  106. Aaron Klein

    Again…I’d just like you to explain how to make that realistic.Name an example of an offending innovation that you would call a ripoff and how you’d distinguish that from an evolutionary innovation that wouldn’t qualify for the “ripoff” payment. I don’t see how this is a workable idea at all. You’re talking about the software patent system, which is a mess. I’m actually more tilted towards patents and IP than most in the AVC community, but I can’t bring myself to make the statement you made.

  107. Jim Canto

    I’ll have to look that up to understand the reward model they used…unless you’ve got a link handy.

  108. Jim Canto

    Win-Win … And I wonder how many devs would invest time and resources if their odds for a payday were higher? Then the question arises; What do you not reward?

  109. Aaron Klein

    Not trying to be demanding. I was just trying to understand.Your original comment was something about protecting innovators from having others rip off their ideas without compensation.I’ll move on. 🙂

  110. Matt A. Myers

    I don’t really have a link though it’s essentially that if a vulnerability is discovered and reported then they will give you a reward based on how severe or critical of a bug they believe it is. It’s fairly clear cut scenario for each bug bounty – the alternate being that the vulnerability could be known and then exploited at a later point. Maybe it’s actually not so similar to bug bounty programs, other than rewarding people for value they’ve added.

  111. MikeSchinkel

    @jimcanto:disqus – To work I think the platform company should present tangible goals that are objectively measurable that it’s trying to reach, and if 3rd parties help achieve those goals then they would have a known bonus set forth. Share the wealth, so to speak, but exclusively for those who actively help them generate it.

  112. Jim Canto

    Being purchased would be great if the numbers were appropriate and if the seller was achieving their goal. Unfortunately, there is always the chance it is shelved post purchase.Would really like to see what a win-win could look like in these situations.

  113. Jim Canto

    Ahh…but there will need to be a contingency plan for the unanticipated innovation or emergent behavior as described in Fred’s post.

  114. MikeSchinkel

    Well yes, but mostly I was thinking of metrics like “Increase user participation/content creation” or “Increase reader engagement” so as to allow serendipitous innovation towards those broad goals.

  115. Jim Canto

    I see where you were going with your original comment. Thanks for clarifying the model. Quantifying the “value they’ve added” would be a challenge.

  116. MikeSchinkel

    Jim Canto – “Quantifying the “value they’ve added” would be a challenge.”It would be about the same as setting up a compensation plan for sales people; never perfect but at least quantified, and changeable over time.

  117. Jim Canto

    I follow. Unfortunately, who gets the credit, and for what, can then become a point of contention.

  118. MikeSchinkel

    @jimcanto:disqus – People can always find reasons why something won’t work. Thank goodness for all the startup entrepreneurs who think more about what is possible vs. what isn’t! 😉

  119. Jim Canto

    Yep… I’m a dreamer and a believer. Love exploring the edges of the digital universe as I perceive it.

  120. Jim Canto

    Thoughts of cooperation, collaboration and reciprocation are natural in a low-budget, bootstrapped entrepreneur’s mind. Survivalist mentality? Maybe the survivalist mindset needs to be protected in the presence surplus operating capital.