The TwitterGram web service is up and running.
Documentation with sample code is up too.
Questions, comments are welcome, as are client apps.
Lots of stuff remains to be done. A web browser user interface, RSS feed, press tour.
Paulo Fierro has a Twit O’Gram player.
Tom Simonite at New Scientist has mixed feelings about TwitterGrams.
Here’s an example use-case. You’re driving in your car and thinking of your dog at home, alone, missing you (and you missing your bud too of course). So you pick up the cell phone, speed dial the TwitterGram voice service (it doesn’t exist yet) and say some reassuring words to your pal.
Now at home you have a special PuppyGram client running on your MacMini or AppleTV or somesuch. Your picture comes on the screen, and the computer barks three or four times to get the attention of your best friend. And then your little message comes on screen.
Okay, that’s a trivial example, but Twitter is all about trivial examples. It’s the stuff of no importance whatsoever that make us feel nice about being human.
In any case I’m having a blast writing the web service. it’s
almost ready to deploy.
PS: Almost every domain with the word “cast” is taken. We have podcasting to thank for that.
Yes and no.
I had a philosophical talk about this last week with Marc Canter. For a long time, he and Doc Searls had been saying publicly that I ought to do something to help unify the identity space. Mike Graves, formerly of VeriSign, was saying similar things. I always wondered what they meant. Did they know how I would do it, if I would try to do it?
Last week I spelled it out for Marc. If I try to coalesce some kind of standard the only way to do it is by competing. Writing a spec and asking nicely if everyone would implement it gets you nowhere. The only way to get something to stick is to put up a compelling app, and let the market drive a standard. Tech people don’t play nice unless the market forces them to.
That’s how it worked with RSS. There was a period of a few years when my software and content dominated, and that’s how RSS came to be the powerhouse it is. I had the three sides of the puzzle needed to drive a standard. 1. A tool that generates the content. 2. A tool that consumes the content (two horrible words, but what are you going to do) and 3. Content.
1. and 2. were Radio UserLand. It was a blogging tool that generated RSS 0.92 and then RSS 2.0, and an aggregator that consumed these formats (and all others of course). Following the logic of Postel’s Law, we were conservative in what we send, and liberal in what we receive. And #3 was at first Scripting News, and then the content flow of our very powerful partner, The New York Times. 1, 2 and 3, that’s all it took. In other words, everything.
So if TwitterGrams take off, and I think they might, I’m going to have to put some software in the middle of it. A new branch to the coral reef that Twitter is. And then people can build compatible front ends, and compatible back ends, and everybody will be happy. Hopefully when the dust settles, if there is something to this, I’ll be left with something of value to reward me for the risk and effort (and the years of barking up fruitless trees and chasing down blind aleys, and convincing people they should listen to me). But, as I have found out many times, there are no guarantees if you choose to work openly, which I do.
BTW, hats off to the folks at Twitter for having the guts to work openly themselves. Without their very courageous and liberal API I would never attempt such a project.
Anyway, if you have a service that could be turned into the PuppyGram service described above, go for it. I may do one myself, I do have a desktop client I like to work in, but there’s room for so many, in so many different environments. Think about all the places RSS reaches and that’ll give you some idea how diverse this kind of market can be.
Charles Cooper says “the blogosphere” needs to get real about the line between church and state.
My response: The tech blogosphere was invented because of the sloppy church-state line at CNet and other professional pubs. They’re the last people who get to preach this particular gospel.
Inside the tech industry, we all know what’s going on there. In private, no one is confused. They always take the side of big companies over small ones, even when it’s ridiculous to do so. The reason — big companies advertise, they pay their salaries. And the little ones are too little to make a difference. Even if their products are standard-setters. Do they look out for their readers or their bottom lines? Of course, they throw the readers under the bus (a metaphor that should be thrown under the bus, btw).
Further, there is no such thing as “the blogosphere” and there’s no way for the lines to be anything other than what they are. Of course, individual bloggers can do something about it. And of course we all know who Cooper is talking about, Mike Arrington.
Now this is going to blow Mike away — I’m going to defend him. Not because he’s my friend, even though he is, but because he’s doing a bunch of things right, and before everyone goes too far, let’s understand what that is.
Mike doesn’t tell bedtime stories, or mask his position behind vague words. He comes right out with it, and tells you he’s pissed off, or to pound sand, or worse. Sometimes I can’t believe the things he says, but at least he’s not dancing around it, like some other people do. (More on that in a bit.)
Mike gets stories that CNet doesn’t get, that no one else gets. Look at the piece he did on Mitch Kapor’s product earlier today. Compare that against the nonsense that passes for tech news done by the pros. They put reporters on the stories who have no idea what they’re writing about, and you can tell. Or old school guys who only quote their friends, and haven’t found a new trend or product in years. All they know is that Apple, Google and Microsoft are important and that little companies are not. So it’s a long time before a CNet hack gets to tell Mike how to do his job, even if he does act as a mouthpiece for a crappy Microsoft campaign (I wish he wouldn’t do that).
On the other hand, Mike says he values loyalty above all else, but he turns his back on his friends far too often, and doesn’t call some people on their hypocrisy when he really should. If he’s really a gunslinger, he needs to take it out of the holster a little more frequently, and aim it at some people who aren’t such easy targets. I want the doors to open wide, and the self-dealing in-breeding to stop. It’s making it really hard to make progress. Too hard.
The fact is that it’s a fucked up little industry, and everyone needs to clean house. There are some pockets of brightness, and we need to help those shine, and we also need to shine the light on the dirty practices that pay your bills, but hurt everyone else. That’s creeping into what we used to call the blogosphere, and that’s the scary thing. It’s not that Mike needs to become more like CNet, it’s that Mike is becoming too much like CNet.
Charles, Mike, back to you.