TodaysMama Launches a Laconi.ca Instance That Works – Stay N Alive

TodaysMama Launches a Laconi.ca Instance That Works

TodaysMama

As long-time readers of my blog know, I am a very strong proponent of self-hosted, branded micro-blogging communities. Imagine, for instance, if ESPN were to create a Twitter-like site, just for sports enthusiasts (call me!). People are known for talking their minds on Twitter, but when someone mentions what they ate for lunch, they go nuts! How about a Subway-branded micro-blogging community for food-lovers? Another example I have used is a community, solely for Moms to communicate and share with other Moms. That’s why I was excited when Rachael Herrscher, CEO of TodaysMama, sat down with me looking for new ways to build community around their brand. What we came up with is something I’ll admit blew me away when I saw the final version. Yesterday they launched the live version of it, TodaysMama Connect for the world to see.

TodaysMama Connect – What it Is

TodaysMama Connect, put quite simply, is “Twitter, for Moms” (as I call it). They’ve taken a simple open source Microblogging platform, Laconi.ca, and have made it beautiful, something your Mom could use. The site has simple microblogging functionality, enabling users to post, in short burst, what they’re doing at the moment or what they’re thinking, while at the same time communicate with each other via @replies or direct message functionality.

In addition, the site uses a feature of Laconi.ca, groups, to allow groups of people, such as what we’re seeing through the #GNO (Girls Night Out – takes place every Tuesday night) “group” on Twitter, to truly communicate as a group without disrupting the flow of the site. In fact, the very large #GNO movement which makes Twitter trending terms every Tuesday has also created a group on TodaysMama Connect, and the group is continuing what they started over on Twitter, in the more Mom-focused environment. When users send !groupname and their message, the message goes out to only those who have joined the group on TodaysMama Connect. There are already hundreds of groups to join, top groups including “Toddler”, and “Office”, and “Potty”.

The site integrates fully with Twitter, so you can use Twitter directly from the site itself, importing your current Twitter stream into TodaysMama Connect, and also sending your updates from TodaysMama Connect out to Twitter. In addition, as a Laconi.ca instance supporting the OpenMicroBlogging (OMB) standard, the site works fully with clients such as Twhirl, which support Laconi.ca and OMB. I even got it to work on my iPhone with the LaTwit app (using http://todaysmama.com/connect/api as the API URL). You can get it to work in Twhirl using username@todaysmama.com/connect as your username.

Even if you’re not a techy and prefer a nice, plain, web interface, the UI is comfortable enough any Mom would enjoy using. The site supports normal login/registration, or if you have an OpenID you can login/register via that means as well. Registration was extremely easy. There is lots of help documentation, and if you get stuck, you can always pose your question, and @todaysmamastaff is listening (as is the CEO, @todaysmama).

What's Up?

The Power of Micro-Branded Communities

I’ve said this time and time again, and I’ll keep saying it. The only way Twitter will survive is if they open up by allowing other communities to communicate and build “Twitter” in their own environments. This is “Forums 2.0”, and Twitter just so happens to have the largest master Forum site on the internet right now. That won’t last forever if they keep their closed environment.

Businesses want their customers interacting in their own brand environments. Many have strict rules, requiring they host the content and do it under their own umbrella. Twitter can’t do that right now, and will never fully do that if they don’t open up.

At the same time, Twitter is a mess of mixed niches, all on the same platform. It’s very difficult as a brand to pinpoint users devoted and interested in a single type of product. It’s difficult to identify demographics. What TodaysMama is doing is enabling brands to now have a specific demographic of people they can target and share information with. Rachael Herrscher, the CEO, even shared an example of a local Zoo being able to share local deals to the Moms in the area. Businesses want this – and this is the perfect social environment to do it in. They now have the power to interact with one of the most powerful demographics on the internet – Moms.

The Future of Microblogging

This is only the start. What Laconi.ca and OMB allow users to do is connect with people, across platforms, in ways they weren’t able to do before. For instance, if someone were to create an OMB-compatible site for Dads, now my wife would be able to follow me as I interact with other Dads on the Dad-related site, and she would never have to leave TodaysMama Connect.

Evan Prodromau, the author and maintainer of Laconi.ca is offering services to help large brands set up and maintain these instances. From my conversations with Rachael, he was there the entire way to help with the technicalities of the TodaysMama Connect set up. Businesses like this type of professional service and guarantee. Large Brands will embrace this.

I know of several other large brands also interested in such a set up, and many don’t even know this is possible yet. Dave Winer is also looking to push this concept, as is Steve Gillmor and others. Twitter is a powerful force, but it has a long way to go before it can embrace every niche out there. I really don’t think people are as devoted to the “Twitter” brand as we think they are. They are devoted to “NASCAR”, and they are devoted to “ESPN”, just as they are to being a Mom, or being a Dad, and the products and services surrounding those. Twitter has led the way, but it’s time to break out of the mold.

If you’re a Mom, have a Mom, or are married to a Mom, I highly suggest you try out TodaysMama Connect. We are already seeing the site take off and I’m amazed by the many conversations I’m already seeing there. I think for the first time I may actually get to see my Mom, or my wife, truly microblogging and interacting with others via such a service. I only wish I could hear them from Twitter now. That won’t happen until Twitter opens up.

You can sign up for TodaysMama Connect at http://todaysmama.com/connect.
TodaysMama Connect ScreenShot

9 thoughts on “TodaysMama Launches a Laconi.ca Instance That Works

  1. The fact that you can create your own microblog community, yet integrate it with Twitter, is what makes Laconi.ca a very compelling package! Great job here!

  2. This is an exceptional idea. The one thing I would definitely have is a focal point – one site where people go to find the micro-communities they are most interested in. That is a major issue with Twitter – there is no way to easily find content on a particular subject.

    You might be interested in a post I wrote about all the Social Networking sites missing the obvious Golden Goose that would make them far more valuable to their users and potentially bypass AdWords in revenue generation. I will link it to this comment.

  3. This is an exceptional idea. The one thing I would definitely have is a focal point – one site where people go to find the micro-communities they are most interested in. That is a major issue with Twitter – there is no way to easily find content on a particular subject.

    You might be interested in a post I wrote about all the Social Networking sites missing the obvious Golden Goose that would make them far more valuable to their users and potentially bypass AdWords in revenue generation. I will link it to this comment.

  4. This is an exceptional idea. The one thing I would definitely have is a focal point – one site where people go to find the micro-communities they are most interested in. That is a major issue with Twitter – there is no way to easily find content on a particular subject.

    You might be interested in a post I wrote about all the Social Networking sites missing the obvious Golden Goose that would make them far more valuable to their users and potentially bypass AdWords in revenue generation. I will link it to this comment.

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