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Human Potential in the Age of Exponential Tech

New Twitter Killer? A look at Identi.ca

After hearing the Twitterati start buzzing about identi.ca I thought I would give it a try. After all micro-blogging is about the conversation and where the my people go, I will follow. I signed on, and was happy to note that I could use my liveID, which meant an easy and effortless process.

I found myself, underwhelmed with the whole experience. There are several differences between Identi.ca and Twitter and I found myself leaning more in Twitter’s favor.

1) No Searching for Friends

Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t seem to find a search box to search for people who I might know or would want to follow. This sort of boggled my mind, as I realized that I had to scan the public timeline in order to see who was on. I happened to come across a few familiar names and then added them.

2) No Direct Messages/Nudges, etc.

I was also disappointed to see there was no option to send private (aka Direct Messages) to your contacts. This didn’t sit well with me as I often use that feature on Twitter to quickly get in touch with certain people in my network.

It just seemed a little clunky to me.

3) Not as many cool applications

There aren’t as many sophisticated applications to use with Identi.ca and I’m currently curious in monitoring the development on Twitter anyway. For now.

Twitter’s Woes

I like Twitter. I think their problem is that they got too big, too fast and weren’t prepared for the strain on their systems. Big Deal. They are good people and I’m sure are working diligently to fix the problem. I think people take the whole “system down-time” thing a little too seriously. A few months ago (it’s funny how a short period of time can feel like ages in terms of line news) Twitter developper Alex Payne wrote a Q&A post on the Twitter Developer Blog in which he answered some users’ questions about Twitter’s recent woes. When asked if users could do anything to lighten the load he had an interesting reply:

The events that hit our system the hardest are generally when “popular” users – that is, users with large numbers of followers and people they’re following – perform a number of actions in rapid succession. This usually results in a number of big queries that pile up in our database(s). Not running scripts to follow thousands of users at a time would be a help, but that’s behavior we have to limit on our side.

Robert Scoble, one of the site’s more prolific users was quick to take this a little personally and blogged a post, blasting Twitter for blaming it’s users. (Scoble close to 30,000 followers and has sent out more than 12,000 tweets) I have to say that after reading Payne’s statement, I didn’t find anything worth getting upset over. He was just stating the facts and not really blaming anyone or telling users to stop. In fact he says that it is something his team will have to address. Quickly. Techies are not known for their patience in terms of under performing software and with the alternatives out there, Twitter’s first in market advantage will surely start to fade as people migrate to a more stable system.

On the Lighter Side

For now, I am content with Twitter. Yes, occasionally I get that while whale and how can you be mad at it? It’s so cute. I think we should all lighten up a little and take a page from FailWhale.com. The site’s mission is simple (and amusing):

FailWhale.com is the groupie | PR | Fan Club for one of coolest whales we know… you know… the handsome whale and his birdie entourage who show up occasionally on Twitter to let you know that it’s time to push back from your keyboard and to go take a break. Yup! that one.

This site is here to poke fun at the people who seem to take online social network downtime a little too seriously. It’s a love letter to the hard working folks at twitter.com and is not affiliated in any way with Twitter.

You can even get mugs and t-shirts of “Fail Whale” and his entourage as well as of his newly designed girlfriend Eve Whale. LOL. I think it’s hilarious. You can also search Fail Whale and become a fan on Facebook.

Comments: 2

  • Jeremy

    July 19, 2008
    reply

    If I was to leave Twitter, it would be for Plurk.com, not Identi.ca. Twitter wins because they dazzled the crowd first, they filled the vaccum first. And many applications have been created around their API because they saw Twitter as a platform, not just a site. Others will have a very hard time getting traction, and will need to really focus on attracting the non-twitter users, not attracting current twitter users.

    While I still do use Twitter, I find myself using Friendfeed more since conversations can take place easier, and their interface is very simple and effective. Robert Scoble talks about it likes it’s the next Facebook, and he tends to have a keen eye for emerging technology.

    Add Twitter to your FriendFeed streams, and enhance your online connections and conversations.

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