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One step forward – one stop back: Twemes has gone

September 2nd, 2008 by Graham Attwell

In June I wrote enthusiastically about Twemes. Twemes is the service which uses hash tags to aggregate posts from Twitter, Delicious and Flickr. We  had a great time using it for communciation in confernces and workshops. One of its greatest virtues is simplicity and sponteneity. We intended to use it as a main channel for communciation at Alt-C. And when we went to set up our hash tag it was gone. Here is the last posting dated Augst 13 on the Twemes blog.

Down But Not Out

“As many of your have already noticed, Twemes.com has not been able find all tagged tweets over the last few days.  This is due to Twitter’s decisions to shutdown and/or limit access to a number of their APIs.  Whether by design or by accident, Twemes.com now only has limited access to Twitter.  We have made appeals to Twitter staff to help us continue to keep Twemes.com in operation but those requests have had no impact on our access to the Twitter API.”

So services can disappear. Very good services. And here is not sign that Twitter are doing anything to substitute for it. We are looking at a couple of things – but have not found anything as simple and good. Any suggestiosn welcome.

The message I draw from this is that there is a big difference between Open APIs and Open Source. It is one thing being able to access and use an API. But you never know when a provider will choose to change it or as in this case to limit access. At least wih Open Source the control lies in the community and hopefully tehre would be an open discussion before making changes which would break third party services. I hope the open source microblogging platform Identi.ca continues to develop.

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One Response to “One step forward – one stop back: Twemes has gone”

  1. Frances Bell says:

    It seems to me Graham that the crucial difference here is between data and software – the former always having been more valuable than the latter. When someone gives you an API key they are giving you conditional access to their data. When you use OSS, your data is your own (subject to hosting, etc.) Using WordPress (or whatever) as a Blogging platform only keeps us safe if we keep regular backups.
    I also agree with the point you make about the control lying with the Community (or more likely a very small subset of the community) but that is no guarantee of sustainability.
    Giving our data to twitter 140 chars at a time doesn’t seem like much but presumably it has some value to them (particularly the links).

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