The New York Times last week published an article titled “All Is Fair in Love and Twitter.” Tad Hirsch, a researcher in MIT’s Smart Cities Group, today published a post countering the description of Twitter’s early days by author Nick Bilton, and explaining that Twitter all began with status-sharing service TXTmob.

Here’s the crux of it:

To be clear, TXTmob wasn’t Twitter. The Twitter team made a number of key innovations that allowed the project to scale, and to attract investors. Further, pointing out that TXTmob played a role in Twitter’s creation is in no way to suggest that Evan, Blaine, Jack Dorsey, or anyone else stole anything from me. TXTmob was an open-source project that I freely shared. The folks at Odeo took this project and adapted it for mainstream use in ways that I frankly did not anticipate. And while I wouldn’t object if one of the Twitter millionaires decided to send along a few “thank you” shares, I don’t believe that they are under any obligation to do so.

In other words, much like Facebook was a significant improvement over Myspace, Twitter was a significant improvement over TXTmob. The only difference is that out of the four services, TXTmob is probably the one you’ve never heard of.

All Is Fair in Love and Twitter and TXTmob and Twitter: A Reply to Nick Bilton

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