Scripting News for 6/27/2007

Twittergrams, Day 5 

We reach a new milestone today, now, in addition to a web service that developers can hook into, there’s now a web app, that anyone can use to upload a small 200K or less MP3 to the TwitterGram service.

Enter your Twitter username and password, a title for your gram, and choose the MP3 file on your local system. Most people who have tested it have been successful. If you have any questions or comments, post them here.

An obvious next step is to include in the web app the ability to record the MP3, which will remove one more big step from the process. Anyone who can help with a Flash app that I can embed to do the recording, please post a comment. Thanks in advance!

Yesterday, Wired ran a very nice piece on TwitterGrams. Like everyone, including me, they say the jury is out on the idea. But they’re willing to give it a chance. Excellent and thank you. Nice picture too, I like the glasses. πŸ™‚

I recorded my own TwitterGram this morning to introduce the new web app.

Some of today’s grams 

200K turns some people into Haiku poets.

Shareski wants you to name that tune.

Or this funk classic. (On the tip of my tongue.)

Amyloo wants to know what movie?

Yes, it’s an advertising medium, with just 200K.

And it’s good for some things that are too painful to contemplate.

It’s all every bit as pointless as Twitter itself. πŸ™‚

Here’s the RSS 2.0 feed, with enclosures. Try it in your favorite podcatcher, or iTunes.

Since we’re into puzzles today 

Marc Canter and many other people think I’m full of it when I say the right number of identity systems for each user is 1. But I am right. And I know it.

It’s a Zen puzzle, almost a riddle, one which a smart user like my pal Ponzi would never be confused by. You have to be a great geek tech genius like Marc to get it wrong. πŸ™‚

Here’s the puzzle. If all identity systems you use interoperate seamlessly, grasshopper, how many identity systems do you use?

Here’s a hint. How many email systems do you use? RSS systems? Web systems? The correct answers are 1, 1, and 1.

The meme spreads nicely 

Rafe: “Pownce an interesting alternative to Twittergram.”

And everyone is invited to use Twittergram. If you dare! πŸ™‚

Tinyurl has an API 

Of course I’d like to do what Twitter does, and generate a Tinyurl in place of a longish URL for each TwitterGram. I had assumed all along that Twitter had a special deal with the TInyurl folks, but apparently not so. They have an open API that is simplicity itself. It’s so simple it’s almost hard to describe.

Try clicking on this link:

It returns a Tinyurl. Copy it to the clipboard, and paste it into the address bar of your browser. it should take you to the home page of my weblog. Apparently it works for any URL you give it. And of course you can call it from a script just as easily as you click a link in a browser. Very nice!

I’m going to put this into, posthaste.

PS: It’s in, and it works. πŸ™‚

She nails it 

Ponzi: “How do we decide how many social networks is enough? Are there any central tools that can load all our info for us into multiple sites?”

The answer to the first question, imho, is: 1.

To the second, no, not until we know which one is the answer to the first question.

White man speak with forked tongue! πŸ™‚

PS: Yesterday’s post on identity is required to understand my answers here.

10 responses to this post.

  1. What’s a social network….how do you define it. Are Flickr and LinkedIn both Social networks. If so, then one is not enough – they do very, very different things.


  2. Posted by Arnie on June 27, 2007 at 11:09 am

    The Web is “The” social network. That’s all we need.
    Now we just need an easy way to create and share personal social-space that we can easily publish to any server we want. Spacelets anyone? πŸ™‚



  3. “The answer to the first question, imho, is: 1.”

    Almost — the answer to the first question, imho, is more like 1:1! That is, one social network for every person — that should be enough. But given the tools, we’ll no doubt segment ourselves even further into identities or personal brands.

    It’s already happening. Microformats and tools like WordPress are just a start — we don’t need a new startup as another silo just like we don’t need Google or Yahoo, or Rupert friggin’ Murdoch as a silo…

    To the second question — that’s about the only use we’ll have for central services, but hell, even that could be open and federated.

    Of course, I wouldn’t expect one of the developers of SOAP to see that. But I can’t figure out how one of the developers of RSS and OPML wouldn’t?!


  4. Posted by Aaron Sedheet on June 27, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Windows Live ID


  5. I’m starting to think Canter’s original FOAF vision wasn’t so crazy after all. Actually whats needed is a basic way to publish data about yourself along with your friend/colleague/* contact list(s). Basically, portable profiles so that I can take my persona/reputation with me across SNs (otherwise known as websites).

    Of course, the big SNs are not going to open their profile data up to be portability because then how can they justify their valuations? They have to claim that registered users are THEIR users. Letting users take their profile data out of their system has to reduce the value that advertisers will bid for SN users on a particular SN right?

    I disagree that there will be 1 SN at the end of this. Why can’t multiple SNs host my profile? Why do I have to pick one?


  6. Posted by Bryan Schappel on June 27, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    The key to the puzzle is “interoperate seamlessly”. If every vendor made its identity system work seamlessly with every other system then it follows that, regardless of vendor, there is one system.

    There is value for each SN to do this. If you make it easy for users to leave it follows that it is easy for users to come back and more importantly easy for new users to join. If you export user data then you can bet you’ll want to import user data. It will attract users not push them away.

    If your identity can be easily moved doesn’t it add a feeling of safety? Take your bank account. Does knowing that you can easily withdraw your money make you feel safer about keeping your money in the bank?

    BTW – I don’t use any of these systems and probably never will. I’d have to see the real, tangible benefit to me personally about putting my identity into the cloud. Is there an upside to letting the world know who I am and who my friends are? Maybe I just don’t “get it”.

    Maybe, like Grandpa Simpson, I used to be with it then they changed what it was. Now it’s scary.


  7. It doesn’t matter what the vendors want, at some point the users are going to force the question much the same way that Tim Berners-Lee, who didn’t work for any of the networking vendors, decided to make the network he wanted, and the users flocked to it, because it didn’t have the problems that the vendors’ networks did.

    When copy protection came off business software in the 80s there weren’t many vendors (if any) who wanted it to come off. But the users took care of it themselves, first by buying software that removed the copy protection, then sending the disks back to the vendors, cut into pieces. It didn’t take much time for the vendors to get the idea that if they wanted to stay in business they would have to change.

    The same thing will happen here. Or some combination of these things, or something new, but the effect will be the same — the users acting in their own interest, when they’ve finally mastered the technology and see how the vendors have been screwing them.


  8. Hmmm.

    Since I’ve now gotten out of selling social networks, I’d *like* there to be one social network, since it’s annoying to have dueling networks on linkedin and facebook — but to answer your rhetorical question, I have a professional email address at Topix and a personal email address for non work stuff…I use firefox and IE, Outlook and Thunderbird, even though it’s overkill.

    I guess my point is the Universe *wants* there to be one social network, but there’s another force (entrepreneurs) which keeps coming out with new things, and getting traction. Just today I was trying to grunge through all of the picture sites trying to see if someone had a photo record (somewhere). It would have been nice if there was one instead of a thousand.

    I am curious though, what do you think will be the process of merging all of this stuff together — trhe identity commons approach, or more of a Google approach, where they just stick everything into a big index, and pull it out about 85% of the time?

    Intriguing points though.


  9. The answer is one. The ONE that YOU run yourself. Back in the day, de-centralisation was a mantra that many of us repeated. For a long time, one favoured approach was that we all ran our own servers with our own software. We didn’t need centralised hosted blogging software, we ran MT, WordPress, Radio. So what is there in a Facebook profile that can’t or couldn’t be done in WordPress? But, big but, Chris is right. All of it will happen simultaneously. Bottom up, top down, self run software, huge aggregated portal sites and everything in between. It’s going to get more fragmented, not simpler.

    dr. chadblog: FOAF wasn’t Marc’s vision. But for a while, he was a major evangelist for it. The problem with profile interop is that nobody can agree about how to encode a profile. FOAF isn’t really very good at it. And neither is vCard. Perhaps the most common format in use is vCard as exported by MS Outlook but that’s got some quirks as well.

    What’s disappointing here is just how closed the massive SNs are. You can put loads of data into something like Facebook, but there’s precious little support for getting it out again. It really is a trap door silo. And it’s disappointing to see the analysts praising FB for being open and having an API when all that does is allow 3rd parties to make FB bigger.


  10. Posted by Jake on June 28, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    I don’t understand how 1 social network or 1 identity works.

    In real life and online life, I belong to and participate in many social networks or communities. Some are very durable and long lasting – family, for instance. Some are dynamic and long lasting – church community for instance. Some are very loose and temporary – parents of kids on this years Tigers little league team. Some are virtual and only exist (to me) when I’m online – some flickr groups, for instance.

    These are all complex relationships and communities that may or may not support intersection.

    Within these networks, I may choose to reveal different things about myself or even try to remain anonymous. I specifically may not want my co-PTA members to know where I work or what my job title is. In these cases, identity and persona control are important.

    These networks and communities all have different needs and goals and require different tools for maintenance.

    I just don’t see how these could be reduced to 1 and be adequate or satisfying.


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