Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Twitter at Risk; What to Do

This morning I began to use www.identi.ca, a service similar to Twitter which has a one'way integration with Twitter.  That is, updates I post at my identi.ca account @daviddeweerdt are re-posted to my Twitter account @daviddeweerdt.  On the other hand, updates I post in Twitter itself do not get pushed back into my identi.ca timeline.

The first few posts I made at identi.ca went just fine...they replicated over into my Twitter timeline.  Then the API stopped working when I started sending a series of Wikileaks-related messages to Twitter contacts encouraging them to switch to identi.ca.

Twitter may just be filtering out these messages to keep me from enticing their users to a competitor (identi.ca).  Or, they may be filtering out messages that involve Wikileaks.  Either way, my experience this morning appears to underline my concern about the fact the Twitter is such an essential service to advocates of free speech as it relates to the Wikileaks Cablegate affair.

What if Twitter were really compromised as a vehicle for free speech?  Everyone wanting to discuss this issue without censorship needs to have an alternative channel of communications.  Cornerstone services of the public Internet including Paypal, Mastercard, Amazon and others have all succumbed to pressure from the US Government, so the odds that Twitter will fold are good - in my mind at least.

My expectation is that my government, and the government of the USA, Leaders of the Free World, will cleave to the principles given them by their free citizens (all enshrined in constitutional law).  Just in case the people we've elected think they are above the law (some of them clearly do), it seems smart to be a little prepared.  One of the things this means to me is that citizens need to ensure that free and uncensored channels of communication are available for us to talk with one another about what our governments are doing.

Even if they don't like us talking freely amongst ourselves.  Get an identi.ca account.  And some others too.  Identi.ca uses a distributed architecture (it isn't reliant on one company or just one server farm in one country).  It is open source...you could even have a community server on your own hard drive at home.  A good precaution I think, in case other US-based Internet service businesses are intimidated into giving their controls to Big Government.

Please add me!  I am @daviddeweerdt on identi.ca

****NB.  Evan Podromou just replied to a question about the mystery of the problem I had with the Twitter API connection with Identi.ca  The API works fine: Identi.ca has a rule that it does not push messages to Twitter which include an @person who is in Identi.ca.  

My concern still stands.  We need an alternative to Twitter...it is too important a service to lose.  Identi.ca looks good to me.


Anonymous said...

Hello David, thanks for trying identica and the wikileaks group, you are welcome.

Lets talk about your identica/twitter connection. IMO there is no blocking by twitter, my dents sync throug my both networks and every hashtag as the ! symbol (group !wikileaks) are converted to # (#wikileaks) cause twitter doesnt know groups, works perfect for me!
The only problem is a lag time, but just sometimes.

btw I know twitter is avoiding #wikileaks for the trending topics, so I wrote about it the last week here http://rod.gs/twik
Until now, just the phrase "Assange arrested" is trending topic, I dont know what twitter's game are they playing.

Glad to meet you

David L. de Weerdt said...

Thanks demuxer, nice to meet you, too. Problem solved! (see my addendum to the post above.