i'm blaine, started out in the internet backwater of vancouver, migrated to sf to work on odeo, that morphed into twitter then blew up, and after hanging out at fire eagle, now i work for bt/osmosoft and live in northern ireland.
so before i go to far, i want to talk a bit about what the talk isn't about. first, it's not about pygmy slow lorises, even though they're awesome. there are a whole bunch of things that i could talk about that i learned at twitter-and-similar
people infinitely smarter than me have talked a lot about simplicity as it relates to fields infinitely more complex than mine. I guess all I can say is that working on twitter really emphasized how important keeping things simple is.
openness made twitter. seriously. i remember when it was just starting out, I was the first person to hate twitter. The reason: it only worked over SMS, and I only had pre-paid, which meant it cost me $0.15 to receive a message. Twitter would have cost me $3000 a year to use. Twitter got interesting when anyone could use it, and more importantly when they could mould it to any shape they wanted.
twitter isn't new - irc, upoc, sms, blogs. it's a slight genetic variation from all the things that came before it.
scaling - go read/listen to joe's presentations http://flickr.com/photos/bryanthatcher/2305947210/
this talk is about stuff that matters to me
and why (i think) it matters to you
I don't have answers for a lot of the stuff that matters to me (or I wouldn't be working on it!) but I do have some leads you can follow up if you're interested and want to take action.
... and imagine a room, full of people. you're looking around, and over there's your mom! then you notice your boss, a couple of guys from your football team (i mean, ruby meetup group), then a couple of people who you think you were in high school with. Your wife's there, and, not too far away, your ex-girlfriend. Looking around, it looks like *everyone* in the room is someone you know or knew. you should now be afraid.
open your eyes. what you've just imagined is facebook. thankfully, you never have to face this situation in real life, but on facebook, that's just what it is - your cousin getting engaged, your friend changing jobs, and your boss wanting you to go over those TPS reports, while you're trying to superpoke a dozen people and checking out the events for tonight.
if I were giving this talk three days ago, I would talk about how you have different contexts for your life; it's important to keep these things apart, because we act differently based on the context. but facebook is way ahead of me. They're smart.
natural social networks. what happens when we move beyond friendster \"OMG I can add friends online\"? We get genuinely novel sites that are based around real-world interactions.
there is a downside, though. we lose the network effect when we're compartmentalized.
openid and facebook connect are great for what they do. but allowing people to share content isn't what they do. friendfeed is a great way to aggregate your stuff, but it's too much information, and it strongly blurs the context lines. these things are great if you're a media/net junkie, but if all you're trying to do is share photos with your friends and hang out, they're incredible overkill
urls are the thing.
addressing is important http://flickr.com/photos/loop_oh/492805848/
don't be a sharecropper. facebook and myspace and any opensocial container own your users, and have ultimate say in what happens.