Twitter is all the rage they say, but I guess I missed the train or something because to me it just looks like a pretty good way to get lost in the noise of followers and superficial friendships. When I try to evaluate the highest potential of value, I keep coming back to this idea of using micro blogging as a means of communicating within a small group of like-minded individuals with similar goals, but Twitter doesn’t really enable that so much as it gives people their own mass-distribution channels across a general audience.
Depending on your perspectives, I guess the size of Twitter could be its greatest strength or its greatest weakness. So, if you’re looking for something that CNN and NBC will pimp until everyone on the web has an account, then yeah, go right on back to twittering!
But if you want to build websites with the hottest new CMS, well then, please read on…
Status.net and Identi.ca don’t have the huge popular following that Twitter does, but it does have quite a few things that web developers can’t ignore.
First of all, the Status.net platform is open source. Yeah, you can install it on your server and customize it however you want. Forget about the limitations of the Twitter API, because you can just go in to your Status.net install and code it up any way you want it.
While I’m personally a fan of long text and detailed analysis, we also have to recognize that whats of interest to writers isn’t necessarily the same as whats of interest to their audience. People are inundated with information these days and its getting to the point where readers want to know as many facts as quickly as possible.
So the community micro-blog isn’t going anywhere – except perhaps in to more personalized interest groups. Status.net gives web developers a head start in providing these types of sites to the communities that would embrace them as a way to quickly share news, share ideas, and meet new people with similar interests.
A microblog community for your favorite football team or rock band. A microblog community for your city or your university. Or take it even further and use a private invite-only Status.net install to talk business with your team.
You get the idea, I hope!
Developers and designers shall inherit the pagerank
All of those niche micro-blogs are going to need templates, widgets, and addons. Know what that means? Easy site-wide links from multiple domains, and all you have to do is create some kind of free product that is actually useful.
Sure, you could write the 10,000th SEO plugin for WordPress, or you can jump in on the ground floor of a new CMS platform that’s got the potential to become the next big thing. Of course there’s some risk involved with developing for a relatively new CMS like this, but there’s also a huge payout if you get your template with footer link out to a hundred new Status.net sites.
There’s even some low hanging fruit: really basic addons that a lot of people would like to have. Code something up and people will have something to remember and thank you for. I don’t personally know a whole lot about PHP beyond some of the fundamentals learned through WordPress and Pligg, but I’m really thinking that now is a good time to really get cracking on applying that knowledge to Status.net.
As an added bonus, if you’re concerned about pagerank, the public version of Status.net at Identi.ca is a great place for that as well. Just keep it quiet, ok? 😉 This is a really good link source and if we talk about it too much its going to lose its value. My readership here is limited and I think most of you won’t abuse something like this, so go check out how it can help your search engine link popularity in ways that Twitter can’t. Heck, if you read this far in I think you’ll have the patience and restraint to not blatantly spam a bunch of people’s public streams 🙂
What do you want micro blogging to Be?
Twitter won’t be going anywhere any time soon – but I have a feeling that Status.net is going to start chipping away at its popularity as people seek more personalized solutions and more focused communities. As an open source project, there’s a bit of extra excitement about it because ultimately, the potential of this software platform is up to me and you. We don’t have to play by the rules of Twitter just because we want to micro-blog!