Wednesday, September 24

Going Twitter Click for more info

I never quite understood Twitter. The level of detail it allowed people to talk about themselves seems a bit too self-involved, even for me. On the flip side, who would actually be interested in what brand of toilet paper a twitterer was wiping his bum with (amongst other things)? Besides I have Radio Shak for all that anyway, although even I'd admit that blogging micro updates is going a bit too far.

A lack of interfaces to post (I'm not going to use my phone, that's for sure) and consume updates was the final nail in the coffin - and it seems that I'm not the only one who think this. Twitter hasn't been the success it was promising to be.

But it's not the idea itself that failed, more the implementation. You see millions of people DO Twitter, and often without even realising it. They do this by keeping their Facebook statuses up to date, all the time reading and commenting on those of their friends. It's possible that Facebook status updates are actually more popular than Twitter itself. I'd rather keep Facebook updated than Twitter anyway - but I won't. Well not directly anyway.

Personally I use my Messenger Personal Message to keep my friends updated with my doings. It's easy to update and consume, and generally works very well - except that there's no history or public viewing. What was needed was a way to publish my WLM PMs to Facebook as status updates. Doing a little digging it seems that there was indeed a WLM application for Facebook (by Microsoft, so it's all legit) that updated your Facebook status on a PM change albeit with an ugly "Posted via Messenger" prefix.

But then I got to thinking: why stop there? After all Twitter was the de facto "purer" technology for this kind of thing on a wider level; and besides I wasn't comfortable with Facebook as a status store anyway. I created an account and checked it out.

And now with the help of a Messenger Plus! plugin which posts updates to Twitter on PM update and an official Twitter Facebook application, I can now use my PM to update my Facebook status. And there's no "Posted by" prefix to boot! But further, by using Twitter as the middleman data store, I'm able to publish my updates to other places including this very blog (see "Live From My Brain" on the right).

There are also RSS feeds if you're especially masochist, and since Twitter has a public API a whole host of other applications and uses for the technology is available for both publishers and consumers, although personally I'm not going to concentrate too much on the social "friend list" aspect of Twitter myself.

So there you have it. For the times when a blog will be overkill, I now have yet another way of spewing my spew.