Scripting News for 6/23/2007

Twitter meets podcasting? 

The other day I was thinking about other kinds of Twitters. The thing we like about Twitter is that you can’t post a book-length story about what’s going on right now, you can only do a 140-character synopsis — “I just got on BART” or “Driving to NoobCamp.” It’s one of those Worse Is Better or Less Is More things we like so much about the Internet. So I started making a list of different kinds of Twitter, and immediately gravitated to something I call TwitterGram, where you use the 140 characters to link to a 200K audio message. Think of it as Twitter meets podcasting.

So I created one these messages. Click on the link below to listen to it.

I linked to this message from my Twitter acct.

If you want to play the game, record a response, no more than 200K, upload it somewhere, and link to it from your Twitter account, and put @davewiner somewhere in the text of the twit (so I will see it). Of course I’ll be surprised if anyone actually responds, but what the heck, maybe people will.

I have a funny feeling Chris Pirillo will like this. πŸ™‚

Tom Morris responded! Yehi!!

My response to Tom’s twittergram. πŸ™‚

George Ellenberg says it’s a great idea, but not practical because it’s too much work.

My response to George is basically, yes, but if it’s fun and people like it, it can be made easy.

Tom Morris suggests a URL scheme for TG’s.

Twittergram #4. In the first few hours of brainstorming you don’t have to deal with every issue every person might raise. Sometimes it’s better just to suspend criticism, you don’t even know if the idea of the moment is what you’re going to implement. There’s always someone who says you can’t do it. Amazing how many of the big ideas of the Internet had to go through the objections of people who thought it couldn’t work.

Amyloo stays well within the 200K limit. Thanks!

This is kind of like the Dixie podcast we did in 2005. πŸ™‚

Twittergram #5. I’m going out for a bit, but when I get back I’ll put up a web service that takes care of a bunch of the details of doing Twittergrams. Not all of them, but a lot. You’ll need to have software on the desktop that can record an MP3, and that can send an XML-RPC or REST message to a server. You’ll get back a URL, but you won’t really need it, because it’ll also take care of posting the MP3 to Twitter. And it’ll probably also generate an RSS feed (it would be kind of ridiculous if I didn’t do that too, as far as I know Twitter doesn’t understand enclosures, and this app begs for them).

Moving day for Berkman Center 

Baker House, the old Berkman Center building, where I had an office for a couple of years, is on the move. The building is moving down Mass Ave. It’s a historic building so it can’t be demolished and the law school wants to buid something new and modern where the building used to be.

The Ukranian Center, another historic building, is also moving today.

Comments on people-ready 

Re the “people-ready” discussion.

There are a couple of reasons why the writers shouldn’t have done what they did, and in all the comments already posted, no one has gotten to this.

First, Mike Arrington implies, in the title of his post, that everyone knows about this practice. Maybe it’s disclosed, quite possibly he has written about it and I missed it. But to imply that everyone knows they’re doing it is wrong. I didn’t. I’m sure others didn’t as well.

Second, and this is the really important one. It’s one thing to let Microsoft buy space on your site (it’s called advertising) and quite another to accept Microsoft money for words coming out of your mouth. Next month when we read something positive on these sites about Microsoft, how are we supposed to know if it’s an opinion, or just another example of being paid to say something supportive of Microsoft.

The only one of the people involved who showed any interest in what others think is Om Malik, and even his interest was conditional. In public writing, what people think of your writing is very important. They may not agree with you, they may not like what you say, they may not like you, but you want to be sure they know where you’re coming from. Any doubt about that removes value from your work. Do it often enough and it removes all value.

Mike says that this discussion cost him money that he needs to make payroll. I encourage him to look at a bigger picture. Any cloud over his integrity with readers will have a much bigger impact, imho.

Comprehensive roundup from Jeff Jarvis.

Doc Searls: “The question isn’t whether advertisers are paying for text in a box. It’s whether they’re they’re also buying kinder treatment in editorial postings. We need to hear that. Not to be told where to go.”

Dan Blank brings some welcome comic relief to the drama. πŸ™‚

16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by TanNg on June 23, 2007 at 5:26 am

    “The only one of the people involved who showed any interest in what others think is Om Malik, and even his interest was conditional”

    You are wrong Mike show his interest on what I think not what you think. You are you, not me, and not “people”.


  2. Good points. Is this expanding the conversation or is it just another way to blur the line between ads and editorial, and soothe potential critics by getting them on yet another form of payroll? I suppose it could be both.


  3. The credibility with these people is gone. Period. They’ve been reduced to just another talking head with an agenda instead of someone that needs to be heard. Advertising supported content is understandable but content that is purely advertising is disgusting. It’s called SPAM everywhere else.


  4. Wait a second… so, I can sign up for a TwitterGram account, use a Web-based utility (or desktop?) to record an X-seconds long message and have it auto-twittered to my account? Interesting. πŸ™‚ Even more interesting would be a way for people to follow up with recordings of their own and thread ’em together into a single MP3.


  5. Cool idea – Twittergram – , couple of points :

    1) Why 200k, why not a time limit instead?
    2) This could actually be a good idea outside of twitter – PodGram?
    3) It would be even better if the Twitter widgets/app etc.. recognised the .mp3 ext and just had a play button, like Google reader, I guess if it spreads they might implement it.



  6. Dave – Thanks so much for the mention! Glad you enjoyed it.


  7. >>The credibility with these people is gone.

    yeah. sad but true.


  8. There is an irish company called Rococo Software that have launched a service called You can call a local number (that they terminate) and leave a voice message that gets posted to your account on the website as an mp3. The beauty is that all you need is a mobile phone to post or listen.


  9. There is an irish company called Rococo Software that have launched a service called . You can call a local number (that they terminate) and leave a voice message that gets posted to your account on the website as an mp3. The beauty is that all you need is a mobile phone to post or listen.


  10. Dave,

    [@Twitter meets podcasting?]
    The link under ‘Twittergram #5’ points to I think it should be


  11. Posted by James Robertson on June 24, 2007 at 3:39 am

    My telephone provider records my voice mail in mp3 format and sends it to my gmail address as an attachment.
    I already have a Perl script which can automatically check for new messages, and I know I can download the mp3 files, but I just haven’t implemented it yet.

    I’m using Sipgate as my VoIP provider but I imagine most cater for this, alternatively you could do-it-yourself with an Asterisk box.


  12. I met Rupert Howe at a London videoblogging meetup a few months ago. He’s doing a similar thing with twitter and video.

    No size limit but what was really cool was that all the video was shot, edited and uploaded on his Nokia N93. It automatically posts to twitter and it cross posts to several video sites and I think MySpace.

    Even better is that Rupert is a programmer at all, he’s just using services that are out there already.


  13. *not a programmer*


  14. Posted by Don Jackson on June 24, 2007 at 7:41 am

    Check out Pinger.

    You call, leave an audio message for someone, they receive an SMS, which when returned called, plays the message.


  15. Posted by James Robertson on June 24, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    correction I’m using .wav not .mp3 format with Sipgate and Gmail.
    It’s still good though, and I’ve nearly completed the script which will save the .wav file to my local hard disk.


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