OS Twitter and Services

twitbot.gifIn light of Dave Winer’s recent post about Twitter since the announcement on TechCrunch that some new API features are on the way, I thought I’d point back to a couple of earlier posts I made about these very subjects. Ie: Using Twitter as a ‘service layer’ and Open Sourcing the Twitter server (without SMS) – that post also talks about the’@dictionary word‘ TwitterBot which I created after having the idea as a proof of concept.

I think it’s great and all that people like Nik, Steve and Dave are looking at this too. Let them pick up the ball and run with it. (Ermm. Did I drop it? Ah I see, there’s more than one! Heh)

The new Twitter stuff will enable developers to write ‘GroupWare’ too by delivering messages privately. I hope that Obvious add ‘groups’ soon though. Also the ability to distinguish/register an account as a ‘bot’ as opposed to a human.

BTW : Bots should not have ‘friends’ – only followers. That’s how a ‘client/user’ can register with the bot/service more easily. Simply add the user account.

I also use Twitter for server alerts too, letting me know when somthing has completed or gone wrong – this will help ‘privatize’ them without needing an ‘alt’ account.

I started out by asking my followers where I could find a decent search engine that can respond to a ‘human question’ – after not finding a good enough one with a decent API, I plumped for the Urban Dictionary, which can provide very amusing results ;)

One of the unique things about Twitter is the difference in push/pull with info than we are used to. Usually we ‘push’ a post, then ‘pull’ the website or feeds. Here, we have also have Twitter not only ‘pushing’ email, but also SMS – for ‘free’.

That’s so incredibly useful. ESPECIALLY given all the places in the world where mobile phones work, but the internet does not. Third World etc. This should be exciting to people working in remote situations.

Open Sourcing the Twitter server without the SMS capabilities would make the central Twitter.com/Obvious server like the ‘Sun’ where all the other OS Twitter servers would connect like ‘Planets’ – Obvious could then handle and monetize all the SMS transactions (which the OS server might lack) by charging for this feature.

Tweet! Tweet! Kerrchingg!! :)

Oh and I’ve been building a new forum-like content/communications system with RSS and OPML at the heart of it. Imagine ‘structured Tweets’ – with the ability to also attach files – as a payload – can you imagine how easy it is to flow, connect and direct all these via RSS and OPML? Wow!

More Twittering…

I see that Scripting News has been thinking of Twitter. I’m surprised at the reaction from someone who usually see so much potential in simple things. (Something seems to be up over there too – I tried to comment but they vanished)

UPDATE : More discussion from Dave Winer

At first, I thought – “so what’s so great about this Twitter thing?” – it’s just blogging with just titles. One-liners. With contact lists. Aggregation of those contacts’ one-liners. And an SMS communication layer to distribute those short messages away from the desktop…without the internet.

oh, hang on.. :) — hmm…aha!

To me, it’s the SMS layer to mobiles which makes this interesting. It’s very easy to duplicate – but not so easy to pay for. But SMS ‘can’ make a lot of money (but for who, eh? *nudge*)

The actual content back end must be very simple indeed – but no idea about what they are doing with scaling that, but it seems to get better and worse now again, which means they are constantly tweaking it I imagine.

They say they will be adding groups. This is a good idea, as it will extend what users can do privately – and that means it could be used for businesses.

Also, through the very simple API it’s easy to build stuff on top of the comms framework they have there. Some useful. Some for fun.

Some sites have started to ‘ping’ their TwitterBots (which have no friends – as they don’t read – but many followers) with the latest updates to their systems – Techmeme, BBC, CNN, Podcast.com, etc. – It’s a little river of news, mashed up with commentary, streams of consciousness – and the mundane. I have a little function on my server, using PHP and Curl to ‘Tweet’ me from a special account when something goes wrong.

I’m toying with couple of usernames which I am ‘Sqwitting‘ (That’s username squatting on Twitter, folks) which I plan to make respond to certain calls and queries after any user who the ‘befriended’ the account calls using @question or @answer – which has now become the de facto way to openly reply to another one of your friends. It’s easy to list recent posts from friends with the API, so why not get it to ‘look’ for @name calls? *Bingo!* It’s like a machine!

There are heaps of combinations of feeds – in different formats – to play with and construct all sorts of useful things – all with that very handy SMS layer :) It won’t be long before someone builds something very useful based on this system. But only when it’s reliable and faster! :)

Rex Hammock quotes a great line from Joi Ito on how Americans, when looking at new technology immediately ask, “What’s the business application?” In Japan, however, new technology is handed to children who are told, “Go play with it.” The kids play and do stuff that later becomes things that others realize would make sense also in a business context.

Great stuff!

Bloghud is Twitter on Acid in a Virtual World :) Think what will happen to Twitter when we can easily add our Geo location latitude and longitude! (Still waiting for my Nokia N95 ;) )

In addition

(and I think this is important)

I think that they should Open Source the main Twitter server system structure NOW. Before it gets cloned all over the place. (As happened with YouTube, etc)

All except the SMS layer. There is a huge potential business model in then creating that connection between all the various ‘TwitterPlanets’ in the ‘TwitterVerse’ to that SMS layer to enable that which is most valuable – staying in touch with the network while away from the desk or internet using a device most of us already have in our pockets.

The potential here and NOW is huge. They could wrap this up. Think of all the extra features that could come from it. Think of all the useful ‘special agent bots’ – each with different abilities from different (Twitter)planets. How that could also help the ‘mother hub’ itself. It’s almost a model of what will happen when Linden opensource their Server system. The universe, metaverse and Twitterverse will benefit.

What do you think?

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There’s been alot of bloggering about twittering recently - and hardly surprising, as most of the people at SXSW are using it to keep in touch of what’s on. Great stuff! Pwned!

I have had a load of thoughts and ideas about Twitter recently, but that’s for another ‘tweet’ .. ;)

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