Twitter may implement support for the OpenMicroblogging standard, a function that will allow users on any supported service to subscribe to users on other sites running the standard.
Jesse Stay stumbled upon the revelation in the Twitter bug report system, with Alex Payne, API Lead for Twitter changing to accepted a bug request titled “OpenMicroblogging Support”.
For practical use, Twitter supporting OpenMicroblogging will allow users of services such as Identi.ca to follow Twitter users using Identi.ca, or likewise Twitter users following people on Identi.ca, or any other service that supports OpenMicroblogging. In direct application, if implemented very few people will likely take advantage of the offer, and it’s not about to radically change most people’s microblogging habits.
If Twitter does add support for OpenMicroblogging, it will be a radical step forward in opening up Twitter to the rest of the world, beyond the confines of the Twitter API, but with a pinch of salt. Jesse Stay compares Twitter to AOL and Compuserve, but I don’t believe the comparison is close, even if it works as a visualization tool. Twitter is not facing the challenge that AOL faced from the Internet, quite the opposite, Twitter is the dominant player and its competition is suffering from lack of numbers by comparison. Twitter is the blessed company that can do no wrong when it comes to user numbers, and it continues to power ahead, even without a business plan.
What this move would mean for Twitter is that Twitter has decided to lead by example by playing nicely with its neighbors. This would be a good community member play, a contribution to the great good with the belief that doing so would hold Twitter in higher regard across the broader tech community. And guess what: it would. Brownie points x100 for Twitter if it was to do this.