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Twitter and the Rise of Data Platforms

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the pre-mined-for-your-convenience dept.

Social Networks 33

snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister sees Twitter's latest move — to develop 'analytical products' based on Twitter data and to encourage third-party developers to do the same — as part of a growing trend toward a new kind of software platform. 'In the past, tool vendors have offered developers languages and code libraries that gave them access to computing functions in simple, standardized ways. In this new paradigm, however, a platform consists of more than just frameworks and APIs. It also comes prepackaged with a complete, rich data set, and often that data is the platform's most valuable aspect. These new "data platforms" are creating exciting new opportunities for developers, though they are not without their challenges.' Chief among these issues are privacy and security, as evidenced by a recent letter to Google from government regulators and activist tools such as PleaseRobMe. But for developers, the challenges also include livelihood. 'Even more than mobile platforms such as Apple's iPhone, a data platform like Twitter's is a walled garden. If Twitter cuts off a developer's access to its data sources for any reason, that developer's business is sunk.' Even those who develop 'cloud middleware' around such data platforms stand to gain little from their efforts, as doing so pits them in competition with their data platform vendors, which are in a far better position to reach potential customers."

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33 comments

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Twitter, Facebook, etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31968108)

DO NOT WANT.

           

It's a bubble (2, Interesting)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#31968134)

Capitalism is in its epoch of decline. The tendency of the rate of profit to fall means that big capital refuses to invest in any productive industry. Twitter, Facebook, Google, the whole internet "economy" based on a house of cards resting on top of speculation on advertising arms races over the rapidly shrinking pool of disposable income, are just the agonal gasps of capitalism in its death throes. A choice faces humanity: socialist revolution, or barbarism of nuclear world war. Reforge the Fourth International!

Parent is +1 insightful. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31968260)

Twitter, Facebook, Google, the whole internet "economy" based on a house of cards resting on top of speculation on advertising arms races over the rapidly shrinking pool of disposable income, are just the agonal gasps of capitalism in its death throes.

Sounds reasonable to me. The Red State Strike Farce must be paying one of their cosplay visits here today, because I can't see how your comment was in any way flamebait.

Re:Parent is +1 insightful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31968342)

Red State? And just who do you think is behind Twitter, Facebook and Google? [youtube.com]

Looks at lot like the same bunch that was behind socialism and communism.

Re:Parent is +1 insightful. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31969648)

Looks at lot like the same bunch that was behind socialism and communism.

I didn't know Karl Marx was into the dot-com boom and IPO's, but if you say so...

Re:Parent is +1 insightful. (2, Funny)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31970370)

I didn't know Karl Marx was into the dot-com boom and IPO's, but if you say so...

What, you never read Marx's book, Dot.Kapital?

Re:Parent is +1 insightful. (0, Offtopic)

PenisLands (930247) | more than 4 years ago | (#31968412)

FACKIN' BIG PENIS!!

Mod parent up (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31968348)

Comrades! Only by abandoning freedom can we become truly free! Also, capitalists smell of poo.

Re:It's a bubble (2)

Redlazer (786403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31968352)

Interesting, but I don't think our only options are nuclear war or socialism.

Re:It's a bubble (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31968360)

Says Red lazer... He's a KGB agent! Get him!

Re:It's a bubble (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31971154)

So you're thinking it's either socialism, nuclear war, or sharks with friggin lasers on their heads?

Re:It's a bubble (5, Funny)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31968388)

All extremists should be shot, LOL.

Seriously, Communism was just a reaction to the first great wave of technology known as "the industrial revolution".

We need original thought, not re-hashed 20th century failed solutions that arose out of 19th century excess.

As an American I hate to say it, but it seems like the French have the right idea. Instead of using the excess productivity gained by technology to drive useless things like war and Facebook, we should just take more vacations.

That's not to say the French have it perfect--I wager their beurocracy consumes a lot of time. How about just shorter work weeks instead? One of the great ironies in this is that Utah, a state not considered "progressive" instituted shorter work weeks for state employees.

In other words, technology really did reduce the need for labor. We just need to find a constructive outlet for the excess labor. Neither violent revolution, nor wage slavery in a neoindustrial cubefarm/factory is a constructive outlet.

Re:It's a bubble (1)

General Wesc (59919) | more than 4 years ago | (#31969978)

In other words, technology really did reduce the need for labor.

The need for labour is only fully met when mathematics is complete, scientific discovery is complete and complete technological development has been attained. Good(?) news: none of those will ever happen.

Technology has certainly allowed us to meet the necessities for life---and indeed a much higher standard of living than in the past--with many fewer people farming, running shops, making trinkets, etc., but that doesn't mean we should spend more time at leisure. It means we have the opportunity to increase our pace of advancement.

Solve poverty and then we can all rest. (And just writing a quick paragraph professing that we have enough stuff, but merely need to distribute it better isn't a solution--actually implement a solution.) Well, you know, after we also deal with disease and crime and every other social ill. So long as we can get better, we should strive to do so.

Long-winded essay aside, I do enjoy three day weekends, and more leisure time would address some of society's ills. Just keep in mind, human desires are insatiable, and when dealing with improving ourselves and our world, that's a good thing.

Less-skilled labor (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31973522)

The need for labour is only fully met when mathematics is complete, scientific discovery is complete and complete technological development has been attained. Good(?) news: none of those will ever happen.

The vast majority of mathematical and hard-science is done by doctors of philosophy. Not everybody is cut out to Pile it Higher and Deeper. For example, what will kids do to pay their way through college once a vending machine can handle a customer's request for groceries or a chicken sandwich and fries?

Re:Less-skilled labor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31978462)

"The wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea. They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall mountain. In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by small robots. And as you go forth today remember always your duty is clear: To build and maintain those robots."

Re:It's a bubble (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 4 years ago | (#31968492)

The tendency of the rate of profit to fall means that big capital refuses to invest in any productive industry.

"Big capital" refusing to invest means that "small capital" can make a bigger margin. And then, once the 'productive' industry increases, "big capital" will invest more, margins will shrink, and "small capital" will go look for something else.

Capitalism is ruthlessly adapatable. You will starve to death, but capitalism will continue. Captialism won the cold war -- and capitalism is winning the drug war. If you feel that starving to death is a bad thing, then you're in favor of a change... but capitalism will continue on even then. If we socalize food, capitalism will move to grain. And then to tools. And then to just labor.

Re:It's a bubble (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31968528)

I had to look it up, but "agonal" is actually a word. I thought he meant [wikipedia.org] "agonadal" [audioenglish.net] , which is also a word, and perhaps more appropriate in the context.

Of course, the two are not mutually exclusive, particularly in the case where someone has recently and suddenly become agonadal.

The Scent Of A Lady's Underwear. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31968196)

In my opinion, there is nothing quite like the scent of a lady's underwear.

mmmm... the stink of wet panties.

White with a streak of yellow reek,
A shitty pink,
A most unladylike stink,
From a fragrant, lubricated leak.

Value and Profit (1)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31968240)

"People turn Value into Profit. News at 11."

Re:Value and Profit (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31968294)

These new "data platforms" are creating exciting new opportunities for developers

There is nothing "exciting" or "new" about advertising. It's just a mechanism for siphoning wealth from the middle and working classes and giving it to the top 1%.

The speed with which people welcome the tools of their own demise is stunning.

Re:Value and Profit (4, Insightful)

fotbr (855184) | more than 4 years ago | (#31968476)

If I don't buy anything they advertise -- in fact, I block the advertisements themselves -- exactly how is it hurting me to use services supported by advertising?

I see nothing wrong with parting a fool from their money. If people as a whole aren't smart enough to move past the mental abilities of a ferret (ooh, shiney, must have it), well, then they're bringing it on themselves, and I don't feel sorry for them at all.

Go ahead, call me cold hearted, but I learned from my mistakes. It took me the better part of 10 years to learn and recover from those mistakes, but I did it without going begging for help. People need to suck it up, reduce their expenses to the bare essentials, work multiple menial jobs if that's what it takes, sell possessions if they have to. It takes work, and a willingness to do without, but it can be done without needing handouts.

Re:Value and Profit (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31970802)

If I don't buy anything they advertise -- in fact, I block the advertisements themselves -- exactly how is it hurting me to use services supported by advertising?

Advertising is stronger than you are. You may believe that you have superpowers that make you impervious to marketing, but some very thorough research done since the 1920's has shown that sooner or later, advertising sinks in. Maybe you can block an ad in a website, but the whole idea of ubiquitous messaging is that if the right don't get ya, the left will.

I know people who say they have completely shut out all marketing, and then you count the brand names they know and buy. Or even better, the brand names they know even though they don't buy them. See if you can sing the first few bars of a jingle and if they can finish it. And it's not just about getting you to buy particular products, but to be slightly dissatisfied with your life so that you can only find fulfillment in consumer goods. And there's not 5 out of 100 in the US who have managed to avoid that.

The story of the 20th century is that corporations got into our heads so completely that most of us aren't even aware of the amount of our gray matter that has been completely co-opted.

Re:Value and Profit (2, Insightful)

fotbr (855184) | more than 4 years ago | (#31970890)

All of which is predicated on the theory that I buy excess stuff. I pretty much buy necessities only, and if I'm buying a name brand of any of them it's because a)it was cheaper / unit when I was at the store, or b) past personal experience with it has proven it to be of sufficient quality that it is worth seeking out again. Hell, half the time I'm in the store, I don't know if something is a "name brand" or if it's the "store brand". Mostly because I avoid advertising, and partly because I simply don't go shopping very often.

You'd be surprised how little you need to live a satisfying life. Maybe more people should refuse to be mindless consumers and give a simple life a try.

Re:Value and Profit (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31976244)

All of which is predicated on the theory that I buy excess stuff

If you live in Europe or the US, you buy excess stuff. That's a statistical certainty.

The gray and black markets (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31968326)

I con only imagine what's for sale in these 'new' data markets outside of the law, as it becomes easier and more valuable to gather and sell.

Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31968330)

Somebody develops a tool for efficient ego flexing/attention seeking and it gets turned into a "software platform". The world has gone fucking mad, but nobody notices because they're all too busy with their narcissism.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31968570)

Why did you post that message? Was it for ego flexing or was it attention seeking? It seems that you're too busy with your narcissism to notice that these short messages on /. are very similar to messages on Twitter.

I don't like Twitter because of technical reasons, but I don't see what's so awful about broadcasting short messages for your friends (and others) to read if they're interested. Even if they're not the most important messages ever written.

paradigm shmaradigm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31968362)

perl bullshit detector

if($Input =~ m/paradgm(*)/){
              #print "bullshit detected, $1";
}

Worthless, sensationalist tripe (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31968396)

Worthless, sensationalist tripe - posted by snydeq. I take it theodp is on holiday?

Foolish (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31968414)

It's foolish to tie one's livelihood to something like Twitter. Not only is there the "walled garden" argument, but there's the much more obvious problem: Twitter is a fad and won't be around for very long. Who is Twitter kidding? Not only are they a cheesy fad, but they're a completely unprofitable cheesy fad. Sooner rather than later, Twitter will be relegated to Napster/Friendster/MySpace status (broke and devoid of legitimate users), and any developer who've hitched their star to Twitter will be left in a lurch.

We put too much value on this data (2, Interesting)

comp.sci (557773) | more than 4 years ago | (#31968526)

In the end it all boils down to using this data for advertising (what else could you use this data for to make money as a company?). I don't think it's an exciting development at all, rather it's a pretty boring topic to me: finding out whom to best sell different products to. I just cannot get excited about a problem that doesn't really do anything productive / create anything of true value. Personally I don't have any problems figuring out how to spend my money and actually dislike the idea of being advertised to specifically. In the end we have to realize that no wealth is created by these technologies: there is only so much money to go around for people to buy products. All these advertisement datasets help is finding new ways to get people to spend their money on the "right" thing for them but it doesn't actually create cool new products or give people more money to buy products. Maybe I'm overlooking some exciting key aspect to these datasets (social analysis maybe?) but Im not yet convinced that this is not yet another bubble.

It's more like DRM. (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#31968668)

What we're seeing with these "data platforms" is that you can do some restricted things with the data, but you can't just get the data and work on it yourself. Compare, say, Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The entire data set is downloadable for free. (I have an application downloading the updates every night. [downside.com] . So do many Wall Street services.) Don't expect that kind of access from Twitter.

Companies hate to make that data freely available. Even most WHOIS access is throttled, and that's supposed to be public data. It's not about data volume any more, now that terabyte drives are in the bargain bin at the computer store. It's about control.

"Data platforms" with such restrictive access are really just another form of "digital rights management".

Re:It's more like DRM. (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#31983068)

Terabyte hard disks may be 'in the bargain bin at the computer store', but oodles of bandwidth isn't.
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