Mr Laporte Has Left The Twitter

The Age newspaper has finally caught on, “Is Twitter the web’s next big thing?“, I’ve been using Twitter for a few months now (see to the right) but may be moving to a new service, following the man who got me into using Twitter in the first place, Leo Laporte.

Leo is the owner of the TWiT Netcast Network, a place where Podcasts are born. Ever since Simon was working with me and put me onto This Week in Tech (TWiT) I’ve been an avid follower of Leo and his on going adventures… his leaving Twitter is one of a long line of actions that I’m probably prepared to follow, even though I’ve become very used to Twitter.

Leo is a quiet but powerful man on the Internet, of course if someone mentions this to him, he’d shy away from the words. A man who believes in the true ideals of why the Internet was started and at the forefront of the new media market, Leo is an inspiration to geeks everywhere.

It is through the “TWiT Army” that Leo wields his power, he suggests, we follow… but we aren’t really sheep and we accept that Leo may not always right, this may be one of those times.

Why is Leo leaving Twitter? Well as you may guess, some confusion appears to be popping up over whether or not Leo has anything to do with Twitter; after all, TWiT and Twitter sound very similar. We the TWiT followers know that Leo has nothing to do with Twitter, other than being the number one Twitterholic (also not associated with or Leo’s something that probably doesn’t help with the confusion.

Further to the confusion, Leo has recently trademarked TWiT and now is compelled by the US Legal system to actively defend his trademark. That includes going against the use of words, such as Twitter. It’s sad but true and I know Leo has already spoken about his regret at having to do this.

Comments being left on Leo’s blog about this have ranged from those who will follow, those who will use both and those who think Leo is being a little “full of himself” for proceeding in such a fashion.

It does seem to fly in the face of everything Leo talks about a free and fair system for all, but then, he did change his “podcasts” to “netcasts” when Apple’s started suing podcasters, an action from Apple that didn’t end up going anywhere.

I hope Leo realises that after all this is over, he can come back to Twitter. After a cursory look at Jaiku (where Leo has gone) I prefer Twitter. I mean there really shouldn’t be any confusion, Leo has already publicly advised he doesn’t have anything to do with Twitter, other than being it’s number one user. Then there is the fact that the two words, by definition, aren’t related.

Twit: Besides being an initialization of This Week In Tech, also means “a silly or foolish person”, it can also mean a pregnant goldfish.

Twitter: is the repeated light tremulous sound of a bird call, or talk rapidly and at length in an idle or trivial way.

The word Twitter (other than the “at length bit” cause you only get 140 characters) describes the Twitter service to a T. Some of the suggested name changes, like Tweeter for instance (a loudspeaker designed to reproduce high frequencies) are a lot less apt.

When Leo first mentioned his need to send a cease and desist letter to I was appalled, then he went on to explain the need to do this according to US trademark law and I was a little less appalled. Now I’ve looked into it more for writing this post and I’m a little more appalled again.

The function of the two “products” are distinctly different, the words are distinctly different by definition AND I’m pretty sure as a trade mark owner Leo doesn’t have to go after EVERYONE who uses “twit”. He’s made public statements to the fact that they aren’t associated and that he doesn’t see that Twitter is detrimental to the TWiT Network so surely he doesn’t have to continue the action…

As you can probably tell I’ve decided not to move to Jaiku. It’s hard enough to get my non-techincal friends to sign up for anything… getting them to change to something so similar will be impossible.

If Leo persists there may be some backlash. I hope it’s not too strong. Good luck Leo, we’ll be watching and listening, my Twitter ears will be open.

Just a few of the things I use today that I heard about from Leo or via his associated Podcasts (Netcasts).

  • Flickr
  • Magnolia
  • Flock – A web browser
  • ClaimID – To show what I’ve done
  • OpenID – Single web-wide login (one day)
  • Twitter – What are you doing now?
  • WordPress – Indirectly… Leo and Amber were talking about another blogging technolgy on Inside the Net (now Net@Nite), it got me looking into it.
  • Buzz Out Loud – Daily Podcast – Molly Wood was on TWiT one week, I’ve loved it ever since.
  • World of Warcraft – via Veronica from BOL, see how the web is weaved.
  • VOX – Another blogging tool, I only have an account so I can comment on friends’ VOX blogs.
  • Tips from the Top Floor – Digital Photography Podcast, I think it was from a mention on Buzz Out Loud.
  • NetVibes – An RSS agregator and so much more, heard about it on TWiT, but didn’t really start using it until Simon took it up.
  • Bittorrent

So you can see that Mr Laporte has influenced my internet experience, and continues to do so. Of course I’ve been using the Internet since before there was a World Wide Web so it hasn’t all been about Leo, but I reckon (right or wrong) it’s a better place with him around.


  1. Twitter is Mini-blogging… it’s cool you can blog from the site (, from your instant messenger, from apps like Twitterrific or you can Twitter from your mobile phone via SMS (though for us it is an international SMS.

  2. Yeah, this is a bit of a shame, and sort of does undermine his efforts in pushing open software and a free internet.

    i think its a shame that just like DRM and a host of other corporate ideas, it’s the people that try to stick to the rules that end up losing out in the end.

  3. I blame Scott Bourne, he’s pushed Leo to trade mark during podcasts and I do suppose that Leo does have to protect this thing he has been building for so long, but he shouldn’t be going after things like this. I think any action against Twitter is frivolous and will just cost him money.

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