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Protocols, not platforms

Yesterday, Jack Dorsey published the below tweetstorm about Twitter’s efforts to create a decentralized internet protocol for social media. What does this mean? Think along the lines of the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (or SMTP). Some, or many, of you may not know what this is, but you almost certainly use it every day. It is fundamental to modern email communication. It is how emails get sent.

I would encourage you to click through to the entire thread. It all feels very topical. We are living in a world of recommendation algorithms and content designed to “spark controversy and outrage.” Arguably, this is the result of social media companies being platforms (i.e. proprietary systems), as opposed to being based around open protocols. Twitter is trying to change that by funding a team. And that feels like a great — and timely — idea.

Full disclosure: I own $TWTR.

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