A first experiment: Twitter Eval

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2022-09-21 21:00:17

There’s a tweet I can’t find that said Twitter can be thought of as a collaborative, immutable, spreadsheet. That’s a beautiful thought, and it is indeed what makes Twitter such a generative environment.

It took me years to see how elegant Twitter’s model is. Tweets are proper first-class citizens: they can stand alone, can reply to other tweets, can be replied to, can be retweeted, or referenced. There’s a reason that you see Tweets on television: they are a proper primitive.

This sort of elegant, mutually-recursive data structure shows up in a couple of other products, namely Reddit and its predecessor Hacker News, both of which likely stem from Paul Graham’s computer science background. Another example is Notion, with its infinitely-nest-able block structure. It seems obvious now, but the idea of first-class primitives and infinitely nested data structures is counter-intuitively powerful when applied to consumer products.

My current project is Val Town, which does allow you to import code as easily as you tag someone on twitter. Here’s a recent demo video:

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