A reply to @joel_olbrich on the “QWERTY” effect. Apologies to Joel.I don’t know (yet) how to make replies public. BEGINS
English language keyboards have a letter-layout begining QWERTY... apparently because this order facilitated the mechanical operation of early typewriters. There was no linguistic logic in the design: there seem to be several layouts that would be easier to learn and faster to use. But the early manufacturers standardised, by default, on the QWERTY layout and it became universal. No typewriter having a different layout would sell because users had accommodated to the idiosyncrasy of QWERTY. The “QWERTY Effect” is, by analogy, any structure, however idiosyncratic, that has been entrenched by use. But, on reflection, the “Twitter effect” is not due so much to its QWERTY-ness but to the natural monopoly effect of network scale economies. First movers in many network spaces (railways, airlines, telephone networks, Twitter) who secure large scale quickly can often block new entrants simply because the scale of investments needed to compete against the reach of their established network is too large for new entrants (who have no customers, at first) to justify. #longwinded
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