Winer Swings and Misses…Again

I’m bored, and the non-stop torrent of Apple Unicorn rumor-mongering interests me not one bit; so I think I take some time to point out yet another example of Dave Winer’s ongoing campaign to prove that he knows fuck-all about technology. I’ve written about this before, but this example was too good to pass up.

In an article titled Twitter is SMS 2.0 Dave puts forth the thesis that Twitter is to SMS as blogging is to the web. Hilariously, that analogy is absolutely correct, but not in the way that Dave thinks it is. Dave is proposing that Twitter is an evolution of or replacement to SMS in the same way that blogging is an evolution of or replacement to the web. To quote the curmudgeon:

There was the web and then there was Web 2.0. The difference is dimension. The first version of the web, though it was never the intention of the designer, was one-way. Publishing was hard, very few people did it. Lots of reading, not much writing. Blogging changed all that, writing got very easy, then richer, to the point where lots of professional publications now use blogging software. Mission accomplished.

The first mistake that Dave makes is the classic New Media Douchebag division of “Web” and “Web 2.0.” I hate to tell you lack-wits, that division exists solely in the minds of you and your fellow travelers. To everyone else on the planet there is and always has been just “the web.” Hells, most real people don’t even understand that there is a difference between “the web” and email.

The second place that Dave jumps the tracks is his characterization of blogging and that it has somehow changed the landscape of the web. The truth is, and Dave should fucking well know this, is that “blogs” existed even before hypertext transfer protocol was a gleam in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye. The separation of “blogging” into some novel category is again an invention of the New Media Douchebags.

Dave’s final mistake is his implication that the fact that “lots of publications” use blogging software mean that blogging has somehow replaced the web. This is a classic Winer mistake, confusing the message with the medium. What does it matter is a news outlet is using an in-house Content Management System (CMS), a blogging platform, or hand-coding each html page? It’s the content that matters. Just because the New Media Douchebags have decreed that sequentially posted “articles” are the definition of “blogging” doesn’t change the fact that the content, in the case of our news outlet example, is a news report. If CNN starts carving their headlines into stone tablets, does that make them commandments?

Moving on with Dave’s argument:

Texting was always a read-write medium, and very simple, but like 1.0 of the web, was one-dimensional. Texts were limited in how they could be combined and routed. Enter Twitter, a puzzle — what the frack is it? We spent three-plus years puzzling it out, in the end it has a rather simple explanation — it’s the next version of SMS. You can do everything in Twitter you can do in SMS, and so much more. But essentially it feels very much like SMS, the same way blogging is very much like the web (so much so that that statement seems ludicrous).

Actually, calling this an argument is ludicrous. Dave merely asserts ex cathedra that Twitter is the next version of SMS. And why is that so? Because cranky uncle Dave says so. What little passes for argument boils down to a tautology. “Twitter can do everything SMS can do and more.” Of course it can Dave, that’s because Twitter was designed to run on top of SMS you moron. In fact, the standard response to Dave when he bleats that Twitter should invoke whatever feature he’s pumping in a given week is that it has to maintain compatibility with SMS.

Which brings us to the point, and why Dave got the analogy right but the logic behind it wrong. As I wrote before in the article I linked above, Dave Winer doesn’t grasp the difference between an application and the platform that it runs on. In this case Web : Blog :: SMS : Twitter because the web and sms are platforms that the specific applications of Twtter and blogging run over (and yes I know that Twitter runs on the web too, that’s irrelevant).

Once again Dave displays a shocking lack of awareness of these concepts given that he is the so-called “father of blogging and RSS.”