Forgive Twitter

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Posted on: June 2, 2017

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I've been hanging out online with a group of Mac influentials, and it's nice, but there's a problem (for me). They don't like Twitter and Facebook, and don't use them, and there's resistence to building tools that connect with them. I think this not a good thing. It bothered me. And then I finally figured out the source of the bother.

First, I've asked, and the reason they don't like Twitter is that they fucked over their developers. It's true. I was one of them. I had a sizable base of Twitter software. But I expected it. So when it came I was neither surprised nor unprepared. What prepared me for it so well? The company whose products my friends are devoted to.

Apple taught me very well. There was a day in 1997 or 1998 when Steve Jobs got up on a very small stage in Cupertino and introduced the products that would replace us. It was as thorough a betrayal as ever has been done in the tech world.

Yet today I am writing this on a Mac. I have an iPhone hooked into the Mac, and an iPad charging in the living room. I've bought tens of thousands of dollars of Apple products. I also own a bit of Apple stock, bought in the aftermath of the betrayal. I wanted some upside from all the losses. I still hold the stock today, the profits on paper have been substantial.

I use Apple's products because they work the best for me. After spending a proper amount of time being pissed and being proud of my independence, I realized that I was the loser here, twice. First with the business and creative loss. And second because I had to use malware-infested Windows machines. Once I saw that I could be happy using a Mac, I said fuck it to my refusal and got on board, as a user this time, not a developer.

Twitter today is different from the company that was so mean to its developers. That was pre-IPO Twitter. They were desperately trying to get in position to go public. They felt that developers were a problem. They behaved like all tech companies do. Selfish and short-sighted. Lots to not like there.

They can do it again. I assume they will. But for the time-being I am using them, because it makes sense to.

Twitter is also the place where news is distributed. I never believed in Facebook as a news place, but Twitter is a important for news flow.

And I think perhaps we can work with them. In the meantime they operate their servers at scale. The president of the United States uses Twitter. It's a fixture. Using Twitter is like flying United or Delta. You have to do it, no matter how much you don't like it. Imho.


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