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Twitter and the Rise of Data Platforms 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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Twitter and the Rise of Data Platforms

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) *

      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.

      • by fotbr ( 855184 ) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @02:46PM (#31968476) Journal

        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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) *

          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

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by fotbr ( 855184 )

            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

            • 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.

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

  • 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 lef
  • by comp.sci ( 557773 ) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @02:55PM (#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. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday April 24, 2010 @03:21PM (#31968668) Homepage

    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. []. 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".

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!