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,, 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?


  • Sqitter – like it… although our non-Scottish friends may need to know that the “squits”=runny poo. So to be a sqwitter (sounds like squitter… well you know)…

  • Ach – typo – you know what i mean…

  • You’re so brilliant it makes me feel like I’m a cookie with a voicebox. I saw three things in here I want to act upon next. Thanks!

  • So that’s why you were looking for search engines? Sounds interesting

  • Chris Brogan may begin to feel like I’m stalking him, we keep bumping into eachother online these past few days. In actuality, I came here after reading Kosso’s post on Twitter, and I suspect we’ve all been following eachother around since we’ve been twitterin’ away (along with those SxSW folks).

    Great idea about the direct post, though I wonder how often I’d use it. Might take the fun out of having the very public conversation we’re having here. Thing is, we’ve been able to do most of this for a long time; I mean, we *could* have posted to our blogs via SMS, and even received SMS comments in return. Yet Twitter is popular right now, and highly visible, and a tiny message I send to you is likely to be read by others, and that’s part of what makes it fun. I think.

    I’ll have to think on this more. Still, direct messaging would be good. Better load times of Twitter’s home page would be better, for now.

  • Correction: When I typed “the very public conversation we’re having here”, I tended for “here” to mean “there” — as in, on

  • Correction (again): When I typed “I tended” in my prior comment, I meant to post — oh, nevermind, this is getting ridiculous…

  • I also think that we forget about the developing nations in Africa and elsewhere that have next to no internet access but have GSM mobile with SMS.

    Once groups are implemented, we can use twitter more efficiently. John Edwards does not have to read every post by every friend, but it would mean a lot if he did read every post that was addressed to him (@JohnEdwards)

    About scraping those @usernames, I would love it as a feature of twitter or some other outside service to do what scoble asked, see all @username directed to me, but also for me to have my own list that I maintain of username shortcuts. It can watch my post and know that when I say @koz, I mean @kosso, and link to the last post made by kosso, even if another koz in on twitter. If I say @nate I mean @NateTrue, if I say @Scoble I mean @Scobleizer, it can just be an xml file that goes along with my screen name, i.e.

    Because of the twitter API, it might not have to be developed by twitter.

  • I would’ve commented five minutes ago, but I was busy sqwitting. And I don’t mean squatting twitters or squirting tw…

  • You can also try Allows you to schedule automatic updates of Twitter. The API is very easy to use …

  • Look at you with loads of responses to your blog posts, where did all these people come from?
    I’m not sure this is a good thing at all. The SMSability of it’s great, but the ease of plugging it into scripts is going to turn bad. Instead of just regular blogging, where everyone’s writing and no-one is reading, now no-one is reading it, but no-one’s writing it either, it’s all scripts / bots.

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  • The Twitter boys need 2 get some control of this methinks (or maybe not and let the twitter ‘market’ decide where 2 go with it).

    However if its left 2 blossom on its own (which is most of the reason its done well so far) then the ‘commericalization’ will start creeping in and if users start getting ‘spammed’ via SMS etc. (and it COSTS) then it could go downhill very quickly.

  • Pauly! Shhh!!! Or people will realise our secret that there’s only 100 people on the internet!! 🙂

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  • I do not agree with Steve Poland who said “Twitter Usernames Are Like Domains in 1995” ( But if its true, the twitter ID numbers are certainly going to be like IP addresses. When you pass your mouse on the RSS feed, you can see the unique ID for that user.

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