Twitter as my global status message ¬

2006-12-12

When John Gruber mentioned Twitter a couple weeks ago, saying, ”[his] spidey sense says Twitter is going to be one of those ‘everyone’s using it’ big deals pretty soon,” I went straight over to twitter.com to see what it was all about.

When I got there I was pretty under-whelmed with the concept of the site/service (all it does is ask, “What are you doing?”) and left pretty quickly. It’s like a blog where all you post is a 143 character quick message about what you’re doing. Big deal. So I browsed on.

About 30 minutes later it suddenly hit me. What if I used Twitter as a central location to update a personal status/away-message for my web site, Adium (and so all my AIM, Jabber, and Yahoo! Messenger accounts), possibly finger, as well as whatever service I start using next. That’s where Twitter’s ability to post via web, AIM/Jabber, or cell phone suddenly appeared to be complete genius to me.

I’ve never cared for the SMS messaging functionality for reminders in Google Calendar or other services and I sure don’t want to use my cell phone to post weblog entries like some people do, but how many times have I gotten back to my computer to find numerous IMs from people that hadn’t caught on that I was away or didn’t realize I was busy with some other project? Obviously too many to count on all my digits (including toes). So, integrating a centralized status message with as many services as possible would be very beneficial to me.

I quickly happened across the TwitterAdium Xtra for Adium1, found the API fairly easy to work with via JavaScript, a Textpattern plug-in, and many other cool things.

What I’m finding out about the latest “Web 2.0” sites/services is that their true power is not so much in their tagging (although very useful) or their community aspects (which I tend to care little about), but in that many of them publish APIs and embrace others using them as building blocks. “Web 2.0”—or are we up to 2.5 yet?—is very much like working on a unix command line: others have created many, many useful tools and all you have to do is pipe their output to others or occasionally write a script to glue them all together.

1 Unfortunately, TwitterAdium currently requires the latest beta and I’m using the stable release, so I’ll have to actually upgrade or wait it out.

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