Twitter Engineer’s Tweet Causes Him Payne

WhiteFlag.jpgA little tweet goes a long way — at least, it went a long way toward causing a multitude of hassles for Twitter engineer Alex Payne.

Here is the since-deleted tweet that became the source of angst for Payne:

If you had some of the nifty site features that we Twitter employees have, you might not want to use a desktop client. (You will soon.)

First, the tweet spawned a post on TechCrunch discussing the reaction by developers, especially those involved with third-party Twitter clients such as Tweetdeck and Seesmic.

Now, according to GigaOM, Payne is shuttering his personal blog, saying on Twitter that the TechCrunch post “certainly pushed me to consider how I communicate.”

Highlights from Payne’s farewell blog post:

Over the past several years, this blog has gone from something that a few patient friends read to something with farther reach than I ever hoped or intended. This has been, alternately, flattering, infuriating, exhilarating, and terrifying.

Lately, I’ve found the cathartic returns from blog-format writing to be diminishing. The ideas I’m trying to express never really get put to rest in my head when I write, now. Instead, they spark whole conversations that I never intended to start in the first place, conversations that leech precious time and energy while contributing precious little back. Negative responses I can slough off, but the sense that I’m not really crystallizing my unset thoughts by writing here is what bothers me.

So, it’s time for me to take a break from blogging for a while.

This is a hard decision. Right now, I have a number of posts queued up:

• One about how developer platforms are communities first and products second, and about how healthy platforms grow and mature organically.

• One about the creative possibilities of the iPad, as a sort of counterweight to my criticisms of the device’s closed design.

• One about how Objective-C has been successful despite being a fairly limited programming language, and what other language and API designers can learn from that unlikely success.

• One about the necessity of treating the creative process behind technology as if you were performing magic, and the worth of opening your mind to unorthodox methodologies and approaches.

When I think about not publishing these things, I’m a little heartbroken. I enjoy sharing ideas, even when my ideas are shot down. I try to get better at communicating, at arguing, at persuading. But lately, I’ve been caught in a rut. I feel as if my writing isn’t really improving thanks to blogging, certainly not to the degree that bloggers I admire like Mark Pilgrim have improved in the time I’ve been reading them. I feel as if I stumble from one unintentionally inflammatory post to the next without gaining any particular insight.