Twitter Going More Moblogging, SMS Style
For the uninitiated, Twitter allows you to send a message to a short code in the US (40404), which will then relay that message to your “buddies,” who subscribe to your presence. Conversely, when they send updates to Twitter, you will receive them too. A “timeline” is kept of your SMSes so you (or others) can review them. In fact, a public timeline is available that includes all users (this is opt-in, if you prefer). You could also include a widget (Flash or Java-based) that displays your last Twitter update.
The new features added by Twitter make it seem less like “just group SMS” and more like a possible mobile blogging thing. These features include:
Each item on your Twitter Timeline has a URL associated with it. For example, the (as of this writing) most recent item on my Twitter timeline was basically a response to Ken Camp’s most recent entry. Now I can link to both thanks to this feature.
Twitter now provides an API that third parties can use. The examples that Twitter provided include:
- Mo.ist – http://moi.st/ (Looks like someone’s personal Twitter timeline “mashed up.”)
- Celly – http://twitter.com/celly (An avatar that will give you the last few updates on the public Twitter timeline)
- Twittermap – http://grauhirn.org/twittermap/ (A mash-up of Google Maps and Twitter)
- iChat – http://tinyurl.com/oyusc (Basically, update Twitter by updating your iChat Status message)
So now we have basically the elements of a blog: a way of posting (SMS or web), a way of reading (website, RSS feed), and a way of referring to individual entries. There’s a way to respond to entries as well. Click on the link to the item, click on the person. Then you can respond with an SMS. This could be accomplished with one less click if Twitter tweaks this. Obviously this blogging platform has some limitations, namely 150 characters of text. It does seem to support longer than 150 characters if the message is sent via SMS, you just get two (or more) update messages in this case. I’ll have to try that later. Even so, unless you have one of those fancy smart phones with a keyboard, do you really want to be typing out a long blog entry?
Of course, I have to question what the business model is for Twitter, i.e. where is the money being made. Even so, it’s a cool service none the less. I just wish more of my friends/co-workers used it.