[attention long post and horrible english ahead]
A small and useful application out of the big Yahoo!verse – how might that be possible you ask. I will tell you in this post. First have a look at twitter, the next big thing in micro-blogging that makes the whole internet go mad. Sure twitter does a great job. It let’s me post small text messages in to the wild (limited to a 140 characters – think short message system on your mobile) and aggregates the messages that my “friends” (twitter calls them “followers”, visible on your twitter page, e.g. see my page) send out. People can text via the web, by using a whole bunch of standalone applications and even via lots of mobile devices using SMS. But – twitter is buggy. The service is down a lot and people rant about it all the time. To get the idea of a “better” twitter, we need to investigate twitter a bit further first.
Basically it is a messaging system. As said many times the underlying architecture appears to be designed as a micro blogging platform rather than a complex text messaging system. But you can subscribe other peoples’ messages and so can they do to yours. By doing so you build a network of followers. Striped down to naked twitter is nothing more than lots of short text records (your “tweets”), that are either aggregated on your twitter page or distributed to your followers and aggregated into their “stream of voices” – a collection of the different small messages each of their “friends” sent out over time.
Sounds familiar? The whole network and link aggregating concept is nothing new at all. Now we take a look at delicious. Each and everybody knows delicious for being one of the first to bring public link sharing and online bookmarks to the internet. In a really clever move, yahoo! picked them up in December 2005. Referring the headline: how could delicious act as a better twitter style messaging system? It is not that difficult and i will show you. Set up a delicious account only requires a valid email address. After that you can start saving your links or – and that is the point – small notes. Some might contain a link, some not. You can add notes and even tags to your message (More on these tags below). All your messages are displayed in a very bloggy way on your frontpage and aggregated as a RSS feed, too (see screenshot below).
Have some buddy using the delicious system as well? Why not hook up and see what they have to tell… It is a matter of minutes. Just add them to your delicious network. After that all of their messages (let’s call these delis rather than tweets) – so all of their delis will appear on your network page. Again, available via RSS as well.
But it even gets better. A lot of twitter users use so called hash-tags (marked by a leading #) to track topics and conversations over different users. With your delis you simply tag them. Just assign the right tag with every message and people could even follow only some specific (hash)tags via the subscription function in delicious. Possibilities are almost endless. And every set of your subscriptions is aggregates as a RSS feed once more (again, screenshot below).
I don’t know much about delicious API, possible mashups or how quick they refresh your networks page, but to me delicious looks like a hidden competitor and the sleeping dragon in the field of micro-blogging and short messaging. What du you think? Let me know in the comments!
First photo credit (delicious cake): “Scott Beale / Laughing Squid” http://www.laughingsquid.com/