Why it’s time to give Twitter back to the community

Courtesy of ZDNet:

Twitter is too important to twist in the wind. Infinitely more value could be unlocked if it become an open platform again. Think data and developers.

On This Week in Tech, I mentioned that the best thing that could happen to Twitter would be to become an open platform again. Since my comments generated plenty of feedback, I decided to explain why an open Twitter would be an infinitely better Twitter. Better for the company. Better for its users. Better for the organizations that want to use its powerful data sets. And, better for the developers who want to build on top of it.

Twitter is the live internet. Others have called it the dial tone or the pulse of the internet. However you choose to think about it, it has become a fundamental aspect of the internet itself. It’s the place you can go at any moment to find out what’s happening in the world–from your own town all the way up to the global community–and what other people are saying about it. It’s the place to familiarize, activate, organize, and bloviate.

The open web would feel like a far less current and far more curated place without it.

The problem is that Twitter is now run by a struggling public company that has taken a stranglehold on its feature set, chased away ecosystem developers, and ensconced most of its API deep behind a corporate moat.

The rationale has been to simplify the experience and make Twitter more friendly to new users. It hasn’t worked, as user growth has stalled out. Recently, Twitter has reportedly been considering drastic measures to jumpstart growth, including increasing the service’s 140-character limit–its secret sauce–to 10,000 characters.

In other words, Twitter, the company, continues to fight the destiny of Twitter, the internet service.

It’s time to let Twitter be Twitter again.

On TWiT, I jokingly argued that someone should buy Twitter and give it back to the community. Despite the fact that the stock price slid under $20 for the first time ever this month, that’s not likely to happen. But, Twitter, the company, still has the opportunity to change horses and put Twitter back onto its natural course as a platform–the tissue of which makes up the beating heart of the web.