by anil on January 19, 2012
As the Internet infrastructure evolved over recent years, services running on it become more visible and tangible to the world. Internet as an infrastructure is less talked about these days. Rather, services running on them are counted with more reverence. We are thinking about building further upon those services and forget the Internet as the fundamental infrastructure and fail to see its virtues.
Twitter started as a small microblogging service, built on top of the Internet, has grown into an infrastructure over a few years. Now there are numerous business-critical (if not mission-critical) services built on top of Twitter. Twitter is a service built, owned and operated by a single entity. The whole of the Internet depend on Twitter for microblogging. If email service followed the Twitter way, we would have had only one Hotmail or Gmail and remained as a single point of failure.
Think of microblogging service as a decentralized infrastructure; like email or instant messaging. Email infrastructure can be set up by anyone yet can exchange emails with any other email server (its users) in the Internet. So does IM (with inter-domain federation). Why not the same with microblogging and liberate it from its current bulletin board architecture?
Microblogging URI can also take the form of email address similar to how instant messaging with federation works. For example, Google could set up a microblogging service for its own use and microblogging feeds of Larry Page could be possibly available at firstname.lastname@example.org and corporate feeds could be available at email@example.com. Client software like TweetDeck can fetch feeds from respective servers. Any one can subscribe, route, federate feeds from any any microblogging server. In that situation, microblogging is not dependent of any single provider and so there is no single point of failure. It will work just like the email system.
There can be a feed management layer like what Feedburner does to RSS/Atom feeds. In fact Twitter is best qualified to provide this layer now.
This will make microblogging totally decentralized. This architecture is a very natural one for an Internet service. Above all this will take away the responsibility of running the microblogging service for the whole of Internet from any single entity.