On Platforms and Rules

Open APIs may not be completely, well, open.
Dec | 13 | 2011

Dec | 13 | 2011

twitter-birdI’ll admit it. I got carried away with the whole Twitter thing. I followed people en masse because it seemed like the cool thing to do.

Until it wasn’t.

So, rather than have the people whose tweets I care about get lost in the torrent of information, I decided to pare back my followers.

Many services allow you “mass unfollow” others. The alternative is to individually manually unfollow hundreds of thousands of people and organizations which, when you think about it, isn’t an alternative at all.

In the Age of the Platform, you’ll have to abide by each platform’s rules——or build your own substitutes

Twitter Karma allows you to do that very thing—one of a bevy of tools and sites that accesses Twitter’s open API. Twitter management realizes, however, that getting people to easily move off of its platform may not ultimately be good for Twitter. It’s not about make data portability and the right to be forgotten easy.

This is typical in the Age of the Platform. Open APIs may not be completely, well, open. Apple won’t let anyone upload any app to the AppStore. There’s an approval process. Amazon pulls controversial books from its store. Facebook suspends suspicious accounts.

Simon Says

Get used to it. If you want to play ball with the major and emerging platforms, you’ll have to abide by their rules—or build your own substitutes.

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1 Comment

  1. Phil Simon

    FYI, you can still do this via ManageFlitter.com (although there is a limit of unfollowing 1,000 people in a 24-hour window.


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