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    Kind of funny to see this coming from Gruber, who has been a consistent defender of keeping systems closed in the name of user experience. Facebook used to have RSS feeds, too, and Google Chat used to support XMPP; the writing’s been on the wall for a while. I am surprised that he (and the third-party app maintainers) are really naïve enough to imagine that Twitter can be talked into maintaining these APIs (which allow people to use their service without being advertised to) in the long term.

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      Indeed. The problem (for both Twitter and Gruber) is that Twitter started out as a classic Web 2.0 play with open APIs, and only later realized that can be a money drain. Later services like Instagram only offer API access for the real customers - the advertisers.

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        Yup. This alone makes Mastodon a superior alternative. Now the trick is getting the masses to move over :) (Though, I’m not REALLY sure I want that :)

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          Yeah, or Twitter could have a paid tier that allowed 3rd party apps, better privacy tools, etc. But that’s not the way they want to roll, apparently.

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            (Though, I’m not REALLY sure I want that :)

            I know the feeling! I kinda liked Twitter better when my acquaintances weren’t in it, and we had actual meetups of Twitter users

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            Later services like Instagram only offer API access for the real customers - the advertisers.

            Instagram is an even worse example of API bait-and-switch than Twitter - they offered API access to developers (in 2014), deprecated it this January ¹, and then completely removed access this spring, months before the deprecation deadline ².

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            I honestly never understood why anyone cares what Gruber has to say. I give him credit for inventing markdown. Really great idea!

            All the rest he produces seems to be some variation of “apples is so amazing” and “google is so awful”. Most probably that is confirmation bias on my end, but really: Why does anyone care what Gruber has to say?

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            Disclaimer: I’m harsh on Twitter.

            IMO, the service has proven so popular that it can afford to eat the core users that it needed in order to become popular in the first place. It is effectively a place where the world gets its gossip from. That’s fine, but it is a very different thing than what I signed up for in the first place. You might say, “well it is just a matter of who you follow,” and I’d mostly agree. I still think Twitter as a medium biases it too heavily towards things I don’t care for, such as bandwagon-hopping, tribalism, and angry-thing-of-the-moment.

            Tech Twitter is arguably worse, because it clothes itself in a facade of relevance, when it’s really just a digital water cooler for bitching. Most of the people making the cool stuff we use and rely on don’t have time to sit there and engage in stupid debates about tabs vs spaces.

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              Myself and several of the blind Twitter folk I follow are really upset about this. Third-party Twitter clients are heavily used by blind twitterers.

              I think I’ll be giving Mastodon a hard look in the coming weeks.

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                I’ll be giving Mastodon a hard look

                if that was supposed to be a pun, then it’s gold

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                As others have alluded to, this is the classic plight of early “Web 2.0” successes where they thought they could keep their service “free” by using advertiser support. Only when nobody cared and everybody was enjoying their free lunch Twitter among many others has started to clamp down.

                What I would LOVE to see is widespread acceptance of the idea that advertiser funding is a fatally flawed model. One way for Twitter to go with this is to offer a “pro” option which would be ad free and paid, and also allow full and open access to all of its APIs, including the ones they’ve nuked in recent years.

                One of the things that drew me to Twitter was its diverse ecosystem of users and clients because developers had free reign to innovate using their platform. Clearly the future for this kind of innovation lies with tools like Mastodon and Pleroma, but as I say above it’s not too late for companies like Twitter to make bold moves and fix the broken model before it destroys them.

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                  I find the “pro” strategy appealing, but I can’t think of a big site that’s succeeded with it. I’ve seen a lot of sites try and it doesn’t really seem to last. I don’t have numbers available, but I suspect that advertising revenue substantially outweighs subscription revenue most of the time.

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                    Can’t remember where I heard it, but on some sites the value of a user (to advertisers) who would use a pro option exceeds what said user is willing to pay.

                    Not sure if true or not, but it has stuck in my mind.

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                      Yes, that’s what I was suggesting.

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                        Oh! This is super interesting for a completely different discussion I’ve been having recently. Can you do me a favor and try to find out where you got that?

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                        I did some googling wondering if I could find some real data on this and failed. Flickr comes to mind, which was in fact quite successful and is still much loved despite having been bought by that roving dumpster fire that is Yahoo, and recently SmugMug.

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                          This is not at all an apples-to-apples comparison, but The Guardian (a newspaper/media co) now makes more from subscribers than from advertising. It’s a far cry from saying “this model works!” (the same article notes they still posted a loss) but I think it’s promising.

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                          What I would LOVE to see is widespread acceptance of the idea that advertiser funding is a fatally flawed model. One way for Twitter to go with this is to offer a “pro” option which would be ad free and paid, and also allow full and open access to all of its APIs, including the ones they’ve nuked in recent years.

                          This may be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t think social networks offer enough value for enough people to pay in the “pro” model. It might work on a small scale, but I don’t think it can work for a network as large as Twitter.

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                            You may be right. That would have me leaning towards the idea that behemoths like Twitter will need to go full on closed system draconian advertising for everyone and no third party anything, which will drive away the minority who really care (who should likely be seeking safe harbor in open networks like Mastodon at this point anyway.)

                            I personally feel that if someone could make a Mastodon or Mastodon-like server simple enough to deploy that grandma could do it, Mastodon would really take off in a big way.

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                          Twitter’s removal of support for the Mac client was the reason I started to scale back my Twitter actions and start looking towards Mastodon as a replacement.

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                            Getting forced of Twitter would probably be good for my mental health.

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                              As someone who left for similar-ish reasons, you won’t miss it.

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                            Disclaimer: I am not a Twitter user.

                            Is anybody surprised? Twitter is an advertising play, and allowing third-party access is at this point, strictly a cost to be borne. I know that early adopters think of technologies as somehow “theirs”, but really, Twitter is the advertisers’ first, the shareholders second, and that’s it.

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                              Mastodon has working federation today and it continuing to innovate (http://activitypub.rocks/). It needs more original content (and possibly a better way to discover new content) to be a true twitter alternative. Sign up for a mastodon account today, start tooting and follow some people.

                              A list of open servers is available at https://instances.social/list#lang=en&allowed=&prohibited=&users=

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                                It needs is more original content

                                I can agree on that. The current population of mastodon is mostly technology oriented people etc. No true artists politicians and so on are registered yet that I know of.

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                                I didn’t realise that third-party clients were still usable for Twitter, since they seemed to disable most API functionality around 2010 (i.e. once they’d become popular, due in no small part to their “openness” for integrations/clients/bots/etc.). In other words, Embrace/Extend/Extinguish.

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                                  I believe existing clients were grandfathered in.

                                  The client I use is a fork of ttytter and it’s possible to install and use the streaming API from it (I’m not sure if that’s an API that will be shut off).

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                                    Yes, this is primary measure against alternative clients (if it’s still applies): new oauth tokens are just denied once client gets some number of logged in users.

                                    Push notifications are far from being an essential feature. It’s more facebookish thing for “slot machine-like” behavior everyone is talking about now, intended to use with official client. I think users of alternative clients are usually against flood of notifications.

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                                    Dang, this means the only twitter client to support wallrunning will break again. [free game, no nastyware]

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                                      As they have no business model that would allow them to actually care for their users, I’d suggest just not using twitter. There are more than enough alternatives by now (https://fediverse.network/)