gardens and walls

So prompted by a John Borthwick blog post (here) a conversation with @aewo and @ori I got to think about a couple of things.

Namely – twitter and its completely open API…

This isn’t entirely irrelevant to our own cause – for EchoEcho we developed a completely open API to allow exchange of location information. I think twitter clearly demonstrates this is the way forward (ok well at least “a” way forward).

Of course we  made the API open deliberately because we wanted to encourage 3rd party mash-ups. Big whoop – every self respecting entity starting up these days is doing that.  (yes yes I know – the API specs and the site will be up soon – S60 and Winmo client will be available at beta launch – Iphone and Blackberry soon thereafter)

But anyway – about those walls. And gardens.

Back in 1995 when  I was writing such choice prose as

maui is 11 hours behind the UK so I can spend the whole day on the beach – be back home at 6pm when the wind dies – and still have 4 hours to complete a report for a 9am meeting in London.

Creating a website like was kind of a pain. Handcoding html, uploading via FTP etc etc – most of you know the drill. Surprise surprise very few people (in comparison to the bloggers and microbloggers of today) did it.  These sites  were effectively destinations (as is of course most of the web of today)

Sort of like the equivalent of your front yard or garden – right before people come over and visit. It takes time and effort to make it presentable because  people are coming to you. Just like it took time and effort to make those old websites.

Along come blogs and  social networks and suddenly you can have a cleanly templated site with searches, image slideshows, inlined HD video streams – in less than 10 minutes.

So great – in our horticultural analogy this means that you now have a cool power strimmer for the hedge and all the plant beds are automatically dug up…but the point is – there’s still a destination – you still have to do  some work to keep your garden presentable – even if said garden is just a single solitary page of facebook information.

Not so with twitter. That’s at best a t-shirt you choose to wear around town for the day.

It’s a broadcast rather than a destination. And it requires no effort.

The expression “walled garden” usually refers to walls (i.e. the fact that somebody is restricting free access to people inside or outside the wall) – not the actual garden itself – or rather the destination.

Twitter (to wrap this up…finally) has neither wall nor garden.


2 responses to “gardens and walls

  1. I wouldn’t say that twitter is “no effort” but perhaps less effort.

    It’s important to remember the context that twitter isn’t actually a social network (at least not in the sense that Facebook is). The openness doesn’t just apply to the API/data but to the fact that anyone can “follow” anyone else (except for restricted profiles).

  2. Thanks for getting me into WordPress.

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