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Personal Message Depot, or, Another Damn Post on Twitter

Driskill Bar

Yesterday, while hiding out in the Driskill bar, Jay and I discussed the idea of using Twitter as a sort of personal version of Growl. Growl, of course, is the notification/alerting hub on OS X. It’s sort of “personal middleware” which means it’s software used by other software to please users.

For example, when ever I get a new email, IM, message in an IRC channel, the song changes in iTunes, or any other interesting thing happens on my laptop, I get a small message in the corner of my screen about that “event.” It disappears after a few seconds, so it’s not that distracting. Indeed, it helps me keep up with things instead of having to go check on every application and information flow on my desktop.

What’s nice about Growl is that it makes all of these notifications look and act the same. I can also turn off notifications from any application in one console, so I don’t have to visit the a whole bunch of different Preferences sections. And, of course, you can wire-up Twitter directly to Growl (I use the Twitter IM integration, so I have it indirectly hooked up).

In talking with Jay, then, I realized that Twitter is a similar notification system that spans your laptop and your cellphone. The current application layered on-top of this “Twitter middle-ware” is the person driven posting that everyone is excited about. But, you can imagine receiving tweats from all sorts of non-person information sources, e.g., alarms about meetings or daily reminders. Now, as Jay pointed out, you’d probably want to use direct messages for those more so than public ones. As another example: It’d be nice to know when a package is on the way to my house so I can get back there to pick it up.

What’d be nice about this is making sure to get your notifications whether you were on your computer or on your cellphone. The other nice thing about this is a classic abstraction layer on-top of whatever is sending you those notifications having to know about your cellphone. GCal, for example, will send you meeting notifications as well, but it has to know your cellphone number. Instead, by using Twitter as notifications middle-ware, it could just know your Twitter username and send you direct messages.

Rounding out the vague hand-waveyness of this post, I think looking at Twitter through the lens of a multi-device client piece of “personal middle-ware” is also the type of thing you’d expect from a “Web OS.” The point here — I think — is that the functionality Twitter would be providing here is not tied to a particular end-point or computer: with the click of a radio button, Twitter’s output and interaction can be shifted over to a different device: from computer to cellphone, or both at the same time.

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Categories: Ideas, Social Software.

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9 Responses

  1. That sounds pretty freaking sweet. I don't think Twitter is totally directed for that right now, and I still want to see something that performs the original Twitter usecase too ("Going for coffee at the so-and-so cafe" and your friend shows up), but yeah, definitely. They've just gotta make direct messaging work a little more smoothly.

    DannoMarch 14, 2007 @ 1:11 pm
  2. Sorry 🙁

  3. Interesting…

  4. So dear readers forum! What in your view should be present man? What qualities have? What should be able to do?
    Interested in your opinion?

    P.S. Please administrator If the thread is not to be in category this, I ask you to move my thread to the correct category.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. […] People Over Process » Blog Archive » Personal Message Depot, or, Another Damn Post on Twitter I’m clearly not using growl as much as I should… gotta’ fix it up. Love the idea of twitter as abstraction layer. (tags: twitter growl abstraction) […]

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  3. […] Personal middleware to let you know what is going on in your life […]

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