Every time I get invited to a new microblogging service, I cringe. Because once I try it (which, of course, I will; I can't help myself) and develop even a small network of people on it, I can't really leave. I don't want to be rude to people I've started to communicate with. And then I get mad.
The latest sites to earn my wrath: Kwippy, Identi.ca, and Plurk. There's nothing inherently wrong with these services. They all have good features. Identi.ca is an open-source Twitter competitor; Kwippy integrates nicely with IM networks … Read more
Swurl is a service for people who want to create a blog made from their activity on various social-media services. Like FriendFeed, SocialThing, or any other aggregator, you start building your Swurl blog by plugging in your usernames on each service. There are currently 19 to choose from, with all the usual suspects like Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Amazon, and Yelp.
What's nice is that Swurl will retroactively seek out all your old posts and filter them in. Each post is set up by your day of activity, so if you didn't add anything to any of these services … Read more
Twitter's recent reliability issues and downtime have left a hole in the nanoblog market, to the extent that such a market actually exists. Among the bloggerati, FriendFeed is filling in the vaccuum and could become the new Twitter. It's got a good feedback system and it also has features that make finding and adding friends very easy. And FriendFeed reads in Twitter content, so users can have the best of both worlds.
Twitter clones have been aplenty since the service launched in mid-2006. Many have come out offering more, foregoing some of the simplicity that made Twitter popular to begin with (see Poodz and Pownce). However, one that's just cropped up, called Adocu, is almost a joke, ditching the 160-character cap and only limiting messages to whatever you can fit inside of one (sometimes giant) word.
Users are encouraged to string multiple words together. You can fit nearly whatever you want as long as there are no spaces. OK, however, are dashes, apostrophes, commas, and periods--meaning you can add some order … Read more
Seesmic (review), which is working towards the public release of its video nanoblogging and chat service, has acquired Twhirl, an AIR-based Twitter client. Twhirl is the most popular third-party client according to ReadWriteWeb, accounting for about 7% of messages sent on the service.
Twhirl was developed by Marco Kaiser in Germany. It's the first AIR app he wrote, and he did it as a side project. Kaiser will stay in Germany as a new employee of Seesmic. It's been a busy week for him, apparently: His wife also had a baby this week.
I've been experimenting with the new nanoblog platform, Utterz. It's being compared to Twitter (and Pownce and Jaiku), although it has much better mobile multimedia support. But it's really better used as a utility for getting media--voice, pictures, and video--from your mobile phone to your existing social network or blog pages.
I've heard this idea before (see mEgo): You embed x widget into your pages on all the social networks you use, then to update them all, all you have to do is send your content into the widget. And there are certainly other mobile blogging platforms: see 3Guppies and Twango.
Utterz' special power is the way it takes media from your mobile and intelligently combines it as it sends it to the platform. Also, you don't need a mobile Web browser to publish on the Utterz platform. For example, if you send a cameraphone image via MMS into the system, and then a few minutes later dial the Utterz number and speak a message, those two items will, by default, get combined into one post, presumably because you're most likely describing the photo you just took.
In addition to embedding posts in a widget, Utterz items can be posts unto themselves. You can easily connect your account to mainstream blogging platforms such as Blogger, LiveJournal, and Wordpress.
I like Utterz as a conduit for getting audio/video media from a mobile phone to a blog or social network page. Utterz also has a social network of its own: Like Twitter and other nanoblog systems, you can set up a group of friends on the site, then track the posts from your friends. I wonder if the world needs yet another Twitter-alike, no matter how good its media chops. But if your friends aren't on an existing nanoblog network, well, now everyone in your group has yet another choice.
Utterz is accessible from a mobile phone via its voice and dialpad interface. It will play voice Utterz and convert text Utterz to speech if you dial up the service to find what people are posting. However, there's as yet no good way to access Utterz from a mobile browser; the site is designed for full-size screens.
You can also get Utterz as a Facebook app, but its integration isn't fully cooked yet; you have to log in to Utterz from within your already-logged-in Facebook sessions. There are other annoyances in the product, but nothing unfixable. There's also no API for Utterz yet, but I'm told it is forthcoming.
The product makes money whenever you call the service to leave a voice Utter: It's not a free call, and Utterz gets a slice of the revenue.
Check out my Utterz widget after the jump.
Frengo is a newish nanoblog service that makes it easy to both subscribe to topic areas and to create your own feeds. Compared to somewhat similar services (Twitter, Jaiku, and Pownce), it has a few twists. For one, it's built for the 16-to-30 demographic and is thus a big SMS play. The Frengo founders also have good connections with the mobile carriers, and have managed to get carriers (notably Sprint subbrand Boost) onboard with the service.
As the carriers are raising their a la carte per-message rates on SMS in order to push people into all-you-can-eat bucket plans for … Read more
Featured on this week's Real Deal podcast: Twitter alternatives. Since our episode on Twitter back in May, a lot has changed in the world of nanoblogs. Twitter is not the only fruit. There's Jaiku and Pownce, both good competitors to Twitter. There's Facebook, which already has a "status" feature. And there are services like Profilactic and Twitterfeed for aggregating your status feeds (Jaiku is also a good aggregator). In just 15 minutes, Tom and I run through the options.
Here's the stream:
If you want to join the ongoing discussion, come on over to … Read more
Pownce (review), the new nanoblogging service that doubles as a person-to-person file transfer product, is often compared to Twitter. Both products enable you to "nanoblog" quick updates on what you're doing. But the products have fundamental and important differences, and if you're curious about which one you should be using, you need to know about them. (Jaiku is also an important product in this space; more on it further down.)
Stick with your friends
The big issue: It has nothing do to with design or features. It's the community. Your community. If you want to … Read more