#CFLF – We are now Twitterific


Based on the chatter on the ‘interwebs’ it is highly likely that you have never heard of it. This time last week I could have counted myself among that group but, like Facebook, YouTube, and del.icio.us before it, I have taken a leap into the unknown and dragged my trusty blog along with me.

So you may be asking, “what the hell is this Twitter thing and why should I give a crap?”

Well, even though I have only been using this thing for a week I will take a stab at it.

Twitter is a short messaging tool built around one question, “What are you doing?”

Ok, that definition sucked.

Dave Winer of Scripting News put together the following description that works well for me.

1. It’s a network of users, with one kind of relationship: following. I can follow you, and you can follow me. Or I can follow you and you don’t follow me. Or you can follow me, and I don’t follow you. Or neither of us follow each other. Pretty simple. Just arrows at either or both ends of the line, or no line at all. There are no labels on the arcs.

2. It’s a micro-blogging system. Posts are limited to 140 characters. Enough for a bit of text and a link. This is a powerful idea, but not a new one. If you read Scripting News before February of this year, it was partially a micro-blogging system. When it started in April 1997, it was all micro-blogging. The earliest websites, from TBL, NCSA and Netscape were also micro-blogging systems.

3. A relatively open identity system. I’ve said it before, Twitter or something like it, could be the holy grail of open identity. While the engineers of the tech industry have been, imho, looking at the problem the wrong way by trying to glue together the huge namespaces controlled by powerful companies who don’t want to give up control. Twitter, with it’s ultra-thin user interface, and light feature set, and simple API (more on that in a bit) and the nothing-to-lose attitude of its management, may be the breakthrough. Or it could be Facebook, with it’s much larger user base and a management that also likes to roll the dice. The key is lots of users, a growing user base, and an API with no dead-ends. Permalink to this paragraph

4. An ecosystem. Twitter’s API is very simple. It covers the entire functionality, leaves nothing out. You could implement the Twitter user interface using the API. That’s a key thing. Compare it to Apple, who reserves for itself and a few partners, under terms we don’t know, the right to develop rich apps for the iPhone. Twitter takes the traditional PC industry approach, give everyone equal power, make it a level playing field and let the chips fall where they may. This means that if the people at Twitter miss an opportunity, the rest of us have a shot at providing it for ourselves and others.

So on to the “why should I give a crap” portion of the question. You should give a crap because your favorite blog, Comments from Left Field, has now set up a twitter feed which will allow you to keep up to date on all of their insightful commentary.

Basically, care because I said so.

To make things a bit easier I found the following YouTube tutorial put together by a man in need of a new t-shirt. Give it a view then get yourself an account and begin following Comments from Left Field on Twitter.

Oh, and if you wish you can follow me as well – Michael Tedesco’s Twitter feed.


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