See Twitter. It's really pretty horrible but the A-List bloggers are all over it. And it's got me thinking. ;)

There are two actions/questions that are very, very common on the net

- What are my friends doing? This is Few to One and typically relies on aggregating all your friends attention streams into one place. Typical of this are things like Skype Presence, Plazes, MySpace, Facebook, Last.FM, and now Twitter.

- Hey Look At This! Telling your friends about what you've found, what you've done or what you think. One To Few. Examples are Digg!, Twitter, Blogs,, Stumble, Skype, Flickr, Last.FM

There's some clear overlap here which results in Few to Few community. I find it interesting the way that most communities are set up with the COMMUNITY as an object around a topic and then people join them. Twitter has reversed this with it's friends and followers to create overlapping communities on the fly. But in the process they've lost the feeling of belonging and it's too damn hard to see where the boundaries are or to add to an existing conversation and maintain it over time. The best description I've come up with is that Twitter is 10,000 Alpha Geeks standing on soap boxes and howling into the wind. But there's no sense that anyone is listening!

The parallel with IRC is actually prompted by Skype. Skype public chats have re-invented IRC with some improvements but some downside mainly about scaling. Twitter feels as lightweight as IRC with the same message type of short bursts of text. But since there's no there, there, you can't maintain the conversation.

Writing web based systems to handle very large quantities of short bursts of text is very hard. Server based Shoutboxes and Chat systems typically don't work very well and don't scale very well. IRC was architected from the ground up to handle scaling. Skype handles scaling by using P2P and limiting the size of any one chat. Twitter is clearly having trouble scaling as it's wilting at the moment.

Somewhere in here is my continuing frustration with the state of Few To Few systems. I really, really like the idea of instant chat forums created on the fly from people defining their own groupings of friends and followers. I'm deeply disappointed that Twitter doesn't contain more to foster longer term conversations.

[ << I'm Bored ] [ Making Twitter the new IRC, and rebuilding it >> ]
[ 27-Mar-07 11:17am ] [ ]