Patrick Truchon's Web Portal

A 30-day trial of

Posted by Patrick on March 14, 2011

Here’s a chain of event that recently got me thinking (and worrying) about Twitter:

Last month, Twitter suspended some mobile apps for policy violation. [1] Ok, so it was annoying.  I had to go and download the official Twitter app for my phone, and move on…

Last week, Twitter told developers to stop building clients. The rational, apparently, is that “consumers continue to be confused by the different ways that a fractured landscape of third-party Twitter clients display tweets and let users interact with core Twitter functions” [2] Ok, now I’m getting a bit more annoyed.  First of all, I’m not a “consumer”, I’m a contributor to a community of like-minded (and not so like-minded) people.  Second of all, as a teacher, I really hate the one-size-fit-all philosophy.

A few days ago, Twitter took away @girlgeeks (Moran Simpson’s a two-year-old twitter name with thousands of followers) to give it to “an organization called @GIRLGEEKS [who] had registered trademark for the name and wanted the @girlgeeks account for themselves.” [3] Although the matter has apparently been resolved, here are screenshots of the cached and live google search results for “girlgeeks”:

The current page:

Here, I’m just speechless.

I understand that Twitter is a business and it’s not breaking any law by doing all of this.  Like most businesses, it’s in it for the money.  I get that.  For society, however, social networks are increasingly being used as instruments of social change and mobilization.  At the very least, they are spaces where complete strangers can learn from one another.  Case in point, here’s a tweet that just came up from an educator I’ve never met but have been following for over a year [4]:

The essence here is that social networking tools are too important to be controlled by profit-driven entities and should be viewed as public goods.  The good news is that there are alternatives.

Both of these were designed to us in power of our social spaces.  Sure, they feel a bit different, but they’re as functional as the closed systems they try to replace.  Only one essential part is missing: YOU!

To help others make the transition from Twitter to, here’s what you can do:  Sign up to and only post there.  At the moment, can’t import tweets from those you follow on Twitter into so you’ll have to continue reading your Twitter feed in addition to your feed.  However, you can set up so that all tweets written from are also sent your Twitter feed.  By only posting to, you will slowly make it easier for your communities to migrate to this freer space.

This weekend, I committed myself to trying this for at least a month and I’d really like you join me.  In fact, I’ll send a diaspora invite to the first 8 people who want to give and diaspora a try.  Just send me your email address on at @ptruchon


  1. Twitter Suspends UberTwitter and twidroyd for Policy Violations, Now What?
  2. Twitter Tells Developers to Stop Building Twitter Clients,
  3. So you think you own your twitter name ?
  4. @brasst Tweet <!/brasst/status/47070057217523712>

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: