If you're thinking about migrating your social stream off of a platform you've come to the right place. After 4-5 days mostly weened (I sent a few @replies) off of original content creation on Twitter here are my biggest findings:
- There's no lack of information available outside of Twitter. There are plenty of real time news sites, social sharing networks, and high quality blogs. The primary problem isn't that we need more content, but that we need help reducing noise. As more platforms adopt Pubsubhubbub and Salmon, both real time updates down and up through the network can occur without intermediaries
- Reading more than a few dozen posts a day isn't reasonable unless you're getting paid to, certainly other work suffers. Even though I do the majority of my reading while out walking I have other ebooks I could be reading, or technical research. I freed up a ton of mindshare
- It's the people I follow that suffer the most. I no longer reshare, comment on their statuses, or answer their questions on the platform. Likewise folks that enjoyed this interaction that follow me also miss out
- I still scan over my Twitter follow stream and comment some on Buzz. I chose Buzz for now because it's a social sharing site that supports real time feeds, full data portability & longer archiving
- Isolated 140 character posts aren't enough to build real connections. On the web the defining identity the URL has unlimited length. In practice browsers can't handle more than a couple of thousands characters, but even this limit is much more capable. If 140 characters is a design decision for reading speed and SMS, simply truncate after 140 and have the best of both worlds. On the web, I'm free to use as much space as I need. The majority of poems, a great case of concise thoughts, can't fit in 140
- 140 characters + annotations is enough to self market or market partner offers
Superficial attention grabbing appears to be what centralized social networks do best. They're not the distributed social information tool I think we both need and can construct with today's open web formats.
If you want an open sharing platform I don't believe Twitter, and certainly not Facebook are it. Neither are protocols supporting web friendly networks. These businesses create artificial bottlenecks that capture value based on subtle social network lock in. I suspect they'll become much more open and web friendly as external networks converge on communication protocols, and provide competition (see Marshall Kirkpatrick's XAuth article).
Since I can get all the information I want outside of Twitter, what service is it really providing? It's a great implementation of the observer design pattern, and handles a large central data flow of text updates, but it doesn't provide value beyond casual introductions, and marketing channels. Nearly all of the people I follow on Twitter I met outside of their network, on blog comment sections, as commenters on this blog, or Friendfeed. I'll continue to interract with these folks with greater than 140. Moving my social information flow off of Twitter has been liberating in a way that's hard to put to words. If you want to see what I'm up to you can visit my Google profile for now, or stop by here.
Robert Scoble had suggested interest in moving his favorites into Buzz. But I quickly found out, the favorites aren't his to move. The RSS is rate limited and can't easily be exported from twitter to other networks, in an open web format. This is a perfect example of the gilded cage of social networks, and proof of data ownership.