Yesterday I guest-posted on LouisGray.com about how the technology behind Identi.ca, Laconi.ca, could pose as the launching platform to brand many smaller microblogging services. Today I’d like to share one more power of the service – its working API. Identi.ca/Laconi.ca seem to have introduced a new ideology to Web 2.0 with this code, viral software.
Now, when I mention “viral software”, I’m not necessarily mentioning software that can make things viral. I’m instead meaning software in which the underlying code itself is viral. This could change the face of the way developers write code in the future, and open source is only part of it.
Today I noticed (through Steve Gillmor on identi.ca) another new interesting thing that I knew was coming – Brad Williams (@williamsba) wrote a bridge that essentially allows you to post on identi.ca and have it automatically post to Twitter, prepended by “identi.ca:”. Interestingly enough, “Hippy Steve” (@exador23) pointed out now one of the top trends on Twitter as of today, according to http://search.twitter.com is “identi”. Now, many of the posts you see on Twitter are going to become posts prepended by “identi.ca:”, and many more are going to feel pressured to join identi.ca where they are seeing all their other friends post from. I guess you could consider it competitive micro-advertising, created and distributed on purpose by the users themselves (as Charlene and Josh would put it, we’re seeing a “Groundswell“).
It should be noted that you can remove the “Identi.ca:” from being prepended, but as long as you’re on identi.ca and want those on Twitter to know you’re posting from there and not Twitter, why remove it? You are posting from the competing team, after all. Would anyone want to pretend they’re not posting from Twitter? I’d like to know where my friends are posting from.
Now, onto the viral part. Why did Brad Williams implement this bridge? I’m sure there are preferential issues of trying to get his network onto identi.ca, but the fact of the matter is, from a development standpoint these applications like Brad William’s bridge are simply easier to write for Identi.ca. The lack of limits and plan to keep off those limits on Identi.ca are just one more thing that make the software behind Identi.ca viral. Developers want to develop for Identi.ca. With an API that also supports Twitter (I mean literally, it is simply a change in the hostname for your Twitter code), developing for Identi.ca is just too easy! Again, developers jumping ship could very well mean the demise for Twitter.
I can only hope that developers of the future learn from this experience – in a social era such as today, even your software has to remain viral and easily shareable and distributable. Laconi.ca is the prime example of this – completely open source, based on open protocols, and your software should be able to talk to other instances of itself in some way, preferably using standard protocols. In addition to that, a completely open API is a must – the minute you start closing your API you begin to lose your code’s virality. Brad William’s bridge is only the start of apps that make the transition to Identi.ca much easier. I imagine you’ll see many more of these things in the coming days and weeks.
Looking to learn more on how to make the jump to identi.ca? Check out my friend, Marina Martin‘s site, ohidentica.com for some great howtos and tips all in one place. You can find me at http://identi.ca/jessestay.