Twitter Wants to Reinvent Itself, by Merging the Old With the New
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As Twitter embarks on a mission to decentralize, see the impact of our work together being put into action in the following New York Times article, and learn more in our Twitter case study. As Greg Lyon, Group Product Manager at Twitter puts it:
“Partnering with New Markets Advisors on a Jobs to be Done project for the Twitter developer platform accelerated short term experiment definition and long term vision planning. As Twitter embarks on a mission to decentralize, in part through the developer platform, we continue to refer back to the emotional and functional needs that New Markets expertly uncovered.”
By Kate Conger Published in the New York Times March 2, 2022 The company is undertaking a far-reaching effort to change how it works. For some, it is an echo of their early idealism and a vision for what the internet could have been.
In 2008, the handful of employees working for Twitter reached an impasse. Some were focused on preparing for a surge of new users to their social media platform. But one developer argued for another approach: Their platform, he said, shouldn’t be a platform at all.
Instead, Blaine Cook envisioned Twitter as a backbone for online chatter, one that would allow its users to freely exchange messages with people on other social media platforms instead of locking them into conversations among themselves. He hacked together a prototype to demonstrate his idea.
But the other Twitter employees dismissed it, and Mr. Cook was eventually pushed out of the start-up. Twitter remained a tightly controlled island on the internet and eventually drew in hundreds of millions of users. Now, over a decade later, Twitter is reversing course. The company is pursuing the sort of decentralization Mr. Cook championed. It is funding an independent effort to build a so-called open protocol for social media. It is also weaving cryptocurrency into its app, and opening up to developers who want to build custom features for Twitter.
Its newly appointed chief executive, Parag Agrawal, has championed decentralization inside the company, hiring cryptocurrency developers and prioritizing related projects. Twitter executives now believe that decentralizing the social media service will radically shift online power, moving it into the hands of users, and pose a fundamental challenge to the walled gardens of companies like Facebook.