There's been a bunch of talk recently about the possibility of Peter Thiel buying Twitter. For various reasons, many of them good, that skeeves folks out. So there was a little hubub yesterday about this while I was taking a lovely walk through Umstead with my wife and folks were interested in where to flee post-Twitter, and I thought I'd clarify this particular idea.
The first response should really be bafflement. But...
LiveJournal already has a similar-featured social networking structure. It's got friends, lists, public and private posts, comments, blocking, favorites. It's got even more where you can have public and private posting on the SAME ACCOUNT.
LiveJournal has a published API, and they encourage people to build clients without specifying what those clients should look like. That means you could build a client that operated suspiciously like twitter. Maybe only do subject lines (100 chars)? Maybe something else? You could embed a lot in the HTML of a LiveJournal post that would be client-specific without affecting the web LiveJournal experience.
If you want to write something long, write something long. The subject becomes the "tweet", and the rest of it doesn't require storify to sort out and doesn't (necessarily) spiral out of control into a fractal tree of replies.
Edit what you've written. Like I just did now.
LiveJournal doesn't have a lot of the crap infecting more modern social media systems. Autoplay. Shit that moves. Promoted Content. Memories. Moments. A completely independent messaging app. Chat. Group messaging. The. List. Goes. On.
The LiveJournal source is more or less open. If you're not keen on cozying up to the Russians. It's possible to build your own system (e.g. The Old Reader, Pinboard), charge a fee, and run it how you like to run it.
There are drawbacks!
Can't text a tweet! Does anyone do that anymore? As long as you're building a fancy mobile app, maybe you could build an international SMS gateway, but is that important?
LiveJournal doesn't do HTTPS, or any modern authentication systems, as near as I can tell. This is a big, big problem.
There are accessibility/ablist problems. Although how far Twitter has gone to solve those is open to debate.
You could be quoted without your knowledge. Someone could link to a post and you'd never know. That could also happen on Twitter, but the ease of retweets means there's usually an audit trail of sorts. I'm not sure how big a problem that would be.
Other things I haven't thought of yet. I'm a old able white dude who reads straight and cis. Rarely do I run into problems at all with harassment. LiveJournal has a mixed history with this, and upping the volume of posting to Twitter levels isn't going to make them build a better system.
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