Re: [apps-discuss] IETF technical plenary: the end of application protocols

Graham Klyne <> Fri, 25 March 2011 13:59 UTC

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Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2011 10:10:23 +0000
From: Graham Klyne <>
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Cc: Pete Resnick <>, Scott Brim <>, Dave CROCKER <>, General discussion of application-layer protocols <>
Subject: Re: [apps-discuss] IETF technical plenary: the end of application protocols
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Dave Cridland wrote:

I assume you refer to:

"Twitter is a network, and its network effects are driven by users seeing and
contributing to the network’s conversations."

> Anyone present who doesn't choke at the "Twitter is a network" line 
> should really wonder what they're doing here.

There are many valid uses for the term "network":

- The Internet is a communication network
- The Web is a network of documents (and more...)
- Life is driven by biochemical signalling networks
- Biological ecosystems are resource distribution networks
- Railways are transport networks
- Communities of people form social networks
- etc.

And the great insight (surprise?) is that many of these networks share 
properties on common when viewed in a sufficiently abstract light.  Cf. [1], 
[2], etc.

And I people who are doing practical work that spans these fields; e.g. related 
to to name just one example.

So within this, I think there is a valid position that Twitter is *a* network. 
Just not a network that forms a basis for almost all kinds of computer 

If we are to be relevant to a wider community of users, I don't think it helps 
to assert ownership of the term "network".  So while I personally disagree with 
Twitter's position stated in the message cited, it's not with their claim that 
"Twitter is a network".

Let's not confuse apple and oranges.


[1] "Linked", Albert-Laszlo barabasi
[2] "At home in the Universe", Stuart Kaufman