– Stay N Alive

Did Twitter Suspend Your Account? It’s Your Own Fault

After writing I’m on Facebook–Now What???, followed by FBML Essentials, one of the most common questions I get from readers is a situation where their account, their Page, or their content has been suspended on Facebook in some form or another.  Just today, Robert Scoble talked about another individual on Twitter whose account was recently suspended for no reason whatsoever.  I’ve written about other occasions of Twitter suspending accounts in droves with no notice (that time a glitch).  This is nothing new.  Even the famous Mari Smith, the “Pied Piper of Facebook” according to FastCompany Magazine, had her Twitter account suspended.  Robert Scoble had his Facebook account suspended.  No one is immune.

It’s your own fault if this happens.

Let me explain.  Of course I don’t blame any of the individuals whose account has had this unfortunate circumstance happen to them (assuming it was a mistake).  However, I question why more people aren’t trying to bring these services under their own brand and their own hosting facilities to store their Tweets and micro-posts to their friends.  There are services that make this easy.  I’ve written about these before, and today I’m putting action where my words are.

The best service I’ve seen for this is called, formerly, and it gives any brand, business, or person the ability to host every single Tweet or post surrounding their identity on their own servers.  I’m implementing a version of this so I can control who owns the Tweets I share on Twitter and other sites.  Starting right now, you can go to, register for your own account, and begin hosting your own Tweets right here.  Or, go to, download the source code, and host your own instance on your own servers.  Then, follow my posts at right from your own instance of on your own servers!

Still want to post to Twitter?  Every account on the Stay N’ Alive Community site can connect their Twitter account and set each Tweet they post from to also post to Twitter.  Look at this Tweet – it was sent to my own servers straight from TweetDeck.  I simply added another Twitter account in TweetDeck, and set the Twitter Base URL (under advanced) to be, adding my own credentials for the Stay N’ Alive community.  Now, any time I post from TweetDeck I have the option to post to the Stay N’ Alive Community site where I own the data (well, it’s all Creative Commons so each user owns their own data), and I can know that will also go to Twitter.  If I want to do all my following from the Stay N’ Alive Community site, I can set it to import my friends’ Twitter streams into Stay N’ Alive and I can follow them right there.

What’s the point?  Now I own, 100%, every tweet I post to Twitter, and no one can do anything about that.  If you set up your own instance, you can do the same.  ESPN can set up an ESPN-branded Twitter.  Ford can set up a Ford-branded Twitter.  Rackspace can set up its own Rackspace-branded Twitter.  Scoble can set up his own Scoble-branded Twitter.  Every post from the branded site gets hosted on the Brand’s own servers, anyone on any other OMB-supported service can follow them on their own servers, and no one can ever shut them down.

So, if you’re worried about your account being suspended, this is how you fight back.  Go create your own service, post your URL in the comments (so we can all follow!), and we can all start to take back control of our status under our own terms.  Or, feel free to join the Stay N’ Alive Community where the readers of this blog can all get to know each other!  This is your responsibility – I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

To those who aren’t hosting your own Tweets, I say “Stop It!”:


Twitter, It’s Time to Open Source Your API

twitter.pngWith the recent launch of a “Twitter API” by both Automattic ( and Tumblr, it is evident that developers have a need to implement similar APIs, on similar platforms, reducing the effort to retrieve data from multiple platforms in a single client.  With Tweetie, for instance, you can simply change a single URL to “” or “” or “” and immediately be receiving updates from your friends on those services, and even post back to those services.  I argue this approach is very closed though, as for each and every implementation of a “Twitter API” (which ironically has nothing to do with Twitter), the developers need to completely re-invent the wheel and copy what Twitter has done based on documentation of Twitter’s own API to access its data.  Readwriteweb even went to the extent of calling this approach “open”.  There’s nothing open about it.  Each developer implementing their own “Twitter API” (and especially calling it such) is blatantly ripping off Twitter’s API to do so under no license whatsoever and Twitter’s just standing back and watching.  I think it’s time Twitter releases their API under an Open Source license to relieve this mess and protect their IP.

Open Sourcing APIs is nothing new.  Of course, Google, with OpenSocial, did it and even standardized their own API for “containers” to easily implement the same API across multiple sites.  All the code was provided for developers to do this and we quickly saw sites such as MySpace, Hi5, Orkut, and others all implement the same standard, reducing the code needed to port an app from platform to platform.

Facebook did the same with their platform.  A little known fact is that any developer can go to and download the Facebook Open Platform, along with many other very useful open source tools.  Immediately they have access to enable FBML, FBJS, and other aspects of the Facebook API to developers on their own sites, standardizing the Facebook platform amongst sites that implement it.  Bebo was one of those who took up Facebook on this offer.  Others can too.

What we need now is a standardized platform for sharing micro-content.  Some have proposed RSS do this, which is fine with me, but since developers already have apps built on Twitter which this would go with it makes sense to also enable a standardized platform for developers to code on for these types of apps.  Such an open-sourced code-base would enable developers to not have to change their code to enable access to similar sites beyond just Twitter.  Twitter right now is a closed platform, plain and simple.  With the exception of OAuth, they are based on a proprietary API, do not support open content protocols, and even their real-time stream is proprietary.

A good step for Twitter would be to open source this API.  Enable sites such as WordPress, Tumblr,, and others to easily integrate it into their own platformse without the need to re-invent the wheel.  Put it under an open license, and then your IP remains protected.  Until that point  developers are going to continue ripping off Twitter’s API, and Twitter’s IP slowly starts to go down the drain.  I’d love to see Twitter take a lead in this process – it took Facebook just about 6 months to open source their API.  Why haven’t we seen this yet from Twitter?

Or are they the next Compuserve?

SocialToo Announces SocialSurveys!

socialtoo_logo.jpgI’ve been talking about the “next new feature” of SocialToo for awhile now. Tonight, in a partnership with Guy Kawasaki of AllTop and Garage Technology Ventures, announced the release of SocialSurveys, a viral way of polling your followers in a very easy manner. Here’s how it works:

  • You go to and register if you have not done so already – you must provide your Twitter credentials to get the most out of it (other services will be added soon)
  • Click “Create Survey” to get started
  • Add your question and some answers
  • Leave “Send a URL for this SocialSurvey to your Twitter friends” checked if you want to send out an update on Twitter. This posts an update automatically, with the question in the content, followed by the URL to your SocialSurvey to Twitter.
  • It redirects to the survey – you can then use this URL to send to any other friends you want to see it.

In addition to SocialSurvey creation, you can also subscribe to the surveys your friends create via RSS. To do so, when you log into SocialToo, click on the RSS icon, or the link that says “Click to add (your name)’s surveys to your RSS Reader”. Add that to your RSS Feed Reader and you’ll now get every survey that user posts. It should also be noted that you can post your own surveys to FriendFeed through this method. With all this, SocialSurveys could be compared to “TwitPic, for Surveys”. You can see all my surveys here, and add them to your RSS reader via this link.

SocialSurveys top out an existing feature set that is yet to be beat amongst other individual tool providers. Existing features include:

  • Automatically follow those that follow you on Twitter and, with no effort or e-mail rules to set up on your part.
  • Specify users to “blacklist” and exclude from the auto-following
    Automatically unfollow those that unfollow you on Twitter – this improves your ratio of followers to following, improving your ranking on sites such as TwitterGrader.
  • Send direct messages to your new followers on Twitter.
  • Get daily e-mails with statistics surrounding who follows and unfollows you during the day, including your last Tweet when they followed or unfollowed you, similar to Qwitter.
  • When you provide your Facebook credentials, redirects to your Facebook profile, giving you a short, easy-to-remember URL to give your friends to point them to your Facebook profile. You can visit my Facebook profile via

With the launch of SocialSurveys, SocialToo is poised to be at the fore-front of providing all the tools you need to stay on top of the Social Networks you belong to. With current integration points into Twitter,, and Facebook, and plans to add many more in the future, SocialToo is set to be your one-stop shop to being “Your Companion to the Social Web”. Expect more tools and features very soon!

You can see screenshots, and an excellent write-up over at

Web 2.0 – A Strange New World

Luke StayLuke Stay is my younger brother, and fellow geek like myself. I like his writing style so I asked him to start guest-blogging on Stay N’ Alive. You can follow Luke on his blog at, or on Twitter at, or FriendFeed at –Jesse

About 6 months or so ago, my brother, Jesse, would not quit talking about some crazy new service he was using online called Twitter. One day, I got bored enough and decided to check it out. Little did I know, that service would serve as some sort of wormhole, propelling me helplessly through cyberspace into a strange new world, referred to by its own inhabitants as, “Web 2.0.”

I suppose I should start off with a little background on myself. I primarily work as a Stagehand in Las Vegas, NV for the local branch of IATSE. My area of expertise there is as an Audio/Visual Technician. As an A/V Tech, I am paid to install large screens, large digital projectors, large plasma screens, and many other audio/visual components for the various conventions and conferences that come to town. Sadly, I still use a 32” analog TV as my primary source of entertainment at home (yes, I did already get my free digital converter box, thanks for asking). I am an A/V geek, an A/V geek with debt that can’t afford any of the high-end components he installs on a semi-daily basis. It’s a sad existence, I know.

That being said, I am no stranger to computers or the Internet. I grew up trying to get my family’s ancient computer to do things it shouldn’t have been able to do and crashed it many times in the process. I learned computers by trying to get the family computer back up and running before Dad could come home to find out what I had done … again. I took programming courses in High School and Java in College, but ultimately decided programming was not for me. Instead, I chose to study film and have aspired to the life of a screenwriter ever since. I can’t write my own code, but I can understand most code and manipulate it to do what I want. In summary, I am a computer geek with a pretty lame disguise.

I started using Twitter mostly out of curiosity. At first, I just followed Jesse and watched, observing this strange society for a month or so. Then, I started to contribute, replying to some of Jesse’s tweets. This got his attention, and in turn, got me some more followers and a much larger society to observe. Things were pretty quiet at first, mostly Tweets about what people were doing, or what people were reading, or what new technology Apple was about to release, but then came a sort of uprising. I was witnessing a revolution.

These were the days of the infamous “Fail Whale.” Twitter was down and the natives were getting restless. The few tweets I saw actually come through were mostly complaints about their ruthless Twitter overloads. “Where did @replies go?” and “Why isn’t Twhirl working?” and “Can’t anybody do anything about this?” and “Will somebody PLEASE think of the children?!”

Just when things were looking the grimmest, new services began to pop up. Some began to move their discussions to FriendFeed, but that didn’t seem to work as a Twitter replacement. Others seemed to drop off the face of the planet, or at least the Web 2.0 planet. Others still stuck to their guns, pledging their allegiance to Twitter despite all its faults. Then, a new alternative emerged, billed itself as Twitter for the people; by the people, and quickly amassed an army of rebels set on taking down the evil, unreliable Twitter Empire. Among its strongest advocates were @JesseStay, @MarinaMartin, and @ThomAllen, and a majority of the small group of people I followed on Twitter. I decided to switch. My name is Luke after all, and Luke would never let himself be seen cavorting around with the supporters of the Empire. Not even Uncle Owen would do that.

In one month, I saw more activity and more of a community on than I ever had on Twitter. People were coding furiously, tapping into the new open-source API that offered. Bridges were built, new friendships were formed, manifestos were written, and new blogs emerged to welcome in the new recruits. Then, almost as quickly as it started, the revolution ended.

I came home from vacation and began to notice a lot of decreased activity on Only one or two of the people I followed were posting regularly. I turned on my old Twitter account and there they were. The revolution had ended. The rebel army had lost. There would be no triumphant Ewok songs to welcome in the new era.

I learned a lot during my time on I learned how to track certain terms. I learned how to find more interesting people to follow. I saw a lot of interesting conversations. Most importantly though, served as a sort of microcosm to the way this Web 2.0 world worked. There was a problem on the web, a shiny new service with lots of great features arose, and the masses followed like a swarm of hungry locusts. Then the old service, still much larger than the new one, fixed a lot of its problems, and the swarm came back home.

Since then, I’ve branched out a little on Twitter. I began to get my own followers and have my own little network of videographers, editors, and film geeks. I’m even following Dave Matthews (@DaveJMatthews) and Stefan Lessard (@SLessard) from the Dave Matthews Band (who are surprisingly active). My observations shifted somewhat to FriendFeed as I begin to utilize Twitter more and more, and I see the same sort of cycle on a much smaller scale almost daily. The Web 2.0 world finds some new product or feature, rushes out to play with it, review it, love it, or hate it, and then drops it completely as some other new product or feature is announced.

I remain a somewhat casual observer. I learned my lesson. In this strange new world, it’s better to wait out the flurry of hype that comes with the latest new web gadget to see if it actually takes root. If the locals drop it after a month or less, I don’t bother. Who knows, it may be the next Empire Strikes Back, or it may just be another Star Wars spin-off; a Star Wars Christmas Special in hiding.

I am such a geek

Why Do I See So Many Open Source Advocates Using Twitter?

opensource_logo.pngAs I am speaking, Utah is having their yearly Open Source conference. If you’re in Utah or outside Utah (most of my audience is outside Utah), it is well worth the trip with some great topics from ssh tips and tricks to WordPress Performance and Scalability by Utah’s own Joseph Scott from Automattic. I would be there myself but I have deadlines I have to meet this week (I have a big announcement to make next week which will explain my lack of time this week). However, as I was tracking the updates from the conference, I noticed there seem to be way more people updating from Twitter vs. the Open Source-based blogging tool, In fact, I notice many Open Source proponents even outside Utah embracing Twitter over the Open Source-based and I wonder why.

Now, I wasn’t paying attention during OSCON so I don’t know if it was the same there, but I’m willing to bet there was a lot of activity going on within the Twitter network there that really should have been happening over on I’m wondering if it’s just lack of education about, or if our views of the principles behind Open Source have changed.

I remember a day where in each company I worked for I would do all I could to try and get them to let me run Linux on my desktop. I still run vim and I still run open tools like Apache, MySQL, and Perl. In some (remember Red Hat 5?), I was making a sacrifice by doing so, because I knew I had complete flexibility to make the changes and configurations necessary to make it do what I wanted to do if it did not yet do it.

When I was an Engineer at we thrived on this principle. It actually made us more productive as a company because when we used Open Source software, we could configure it the way we wanted when it wasn’t working the way we wanted it to as a company. This would have costed us hundreds of thousands of dollars in custom software changes if we used a shrink-wrapped solution. Not only that but we could give back to a great cause if it didn’t meet our needs, and in fact we gave back quite a few changes to the Open Source community because of this principle.

Now, if you are not one of those types that went out of your way to use open source software for the principle, and because of the reasons I mention above, then I’m not talking to you here. However, I’m calling each and every one of the Open Source advocates out that are on Twitter and have not yet tried, nor use on a regular basis. This is no different than running Linux on your desktop as in the examples I mentioned above. If is not working the way you want it to, as an Open Source Advocate and promoter, you have a responsibility to jump in and contribute the areas you don’t have access to. That’s the true spirit of Open Source, plain and simple! Here are the reasons why you can feel good using, or build your own instance that can communicate with

  • You own the content you post – All posts through a instance are published under the Creative Commons license, meaning the publisher cannot own the content of its users. This is very much in the spirit of Open Source.
  • is based on open source software – as already mentioned, is based on the source code. You can even set up your own instance and have it talk to other instances. If you don’t like what does, then fix it, publish your own instance, or give back to!
  • talks with an Open Protocol, OpenMicroBlogging Protocol – Not only are you given source that talks this protocol, but you can write your own software that talks this protocol, and it will communicate with any other software that speaks this protocol. See my post on OpenMicroBlogger for an example of this in action. This is called “Federation”, and IMO it’s the essence of Open Standards and communication.
  • has almost all the same features as Twitter, and more – as I’ll explain in a minute, this probably doesn’t matter, but the only features it lacks are direct messaging and SMS. SMS is expensive, and most likely won’t last on even Twitter – it costs too much! Direct messaging can be resolved by means such as e-mail or text messaging in a much cleaner fashion, although there are rumors of some working on even that. What it has that Twitter doesn’t though, and this is powerful, is that all instances support XMPP out of the box, which means live-streamed updates straight from users, in real-time. Not only that, but you can track those updates, as well as any update on any instance via Track functionality. Also, via OMB protocol above, you can subscribe to users on other services other than, and vice versa.

Let’s not get me wrong here – I’m not telling you to abandon your network on Twitter. I’m saying if you support and promote Open Source standards and refuse to use an open service like that is based on Open standards, you are living a double standard. You can still use Twitter in the meantime. I still use Windows and Mac for functionality I don’t get on Linux until me or someone else is able to replace that functionality for something better. The concepts are the same. I still use Twitter occasionally.

Also, many are giving the excuse of, “my network is bigger on Twitter”. I’d first like to point you to my listening/follower ratio article on as to how strong your network really is on Twitter, but in addition to that, let’s pull in the Linux example again. How many Linux desktops are there in the wild? How many Windows desktops are there? We use Open Source because it allows us to configure it to do what we need it to do, and often we can get the job done better because of that. We don’t care if the majority of the population is using another closed tool because we can do much more with the open tools we’re a part of.

I’d really like to see some more Open Source proponents using as their primary posting platform. If you would still like to use Twitter that’s fine – there’s a bridge to enable you to do that, but it’s time we stood to our principles and why we’re using Open Source in the first place. Please don’t consider this a criticism, but rather a Bearhug to come help us out in this cause.

You can find me on at

With Threaded Replies, Do We Really Need the ‘@’?

at-sign.pngI broke news last night on about Twitter enabling a new API feature, “in_reply_to_status_id”, to allow developers to tie replies to their original reply source. Immediately afterwards Evan Prodromou of added the same functionality to the source code, making two of the most popular microblogging platforms, Twitter and, along with the already supporting FriendFeed, supportive of threaded comments. Immediately we saw Dave Winer implement a proof of concept example, and YooPlace also implemented it into their own code. Loic Le Meur of Seesmic, the owners of the Twhirl Twitter client responded as well saying he was reading the article and looking into it.

So a big question has become evident now that we can threaded replies. Is the ‘@’ really necessary in your replies to friends on your favorite microblogging service any more? A comment by Steve Gillmor on got me thinking about this earlier, and I think he has a strong point. In fact, I’ve briefly touched the subject before here.

The ‘@’ is mostly a Twitter-invented custom brought to the service by its users with some slight roots in bulletin boards and forums where threading was not possible. Users decided the Twitter service made a great communications tool and began replying to their friends’ posted statuses with the ‘@’ symbol. There was no other way because Twitter wasn’t expecting to be a communications tool. The popular Twitter clients like Twhirl and TweetDeck and even Twitter’s own web-based client started catching on, and separating those posts with usernames prepended by ‘@’ as “replies”. What’s odd is that the only thing they recognize as a reply is if the username is prepended by an ‘@’ – they take no thought as to the actual username itself, which really is the actual substance of who the user was replying to. In fact, FriendFeed users are starting to do this as well since it only has one level of threading and users can’t comment on other users’ comments. (Twitter and are actually one-upping Friendfeed with their recent announcements)

So while the “@”‘s were a custom, they really aren’t necessary to determine if a user is replying to another user. In fact, even today you can use an XMPP tracker like Twitter Spy and Laconica Spy and track your username and get notified when a person mentions your username, exactly the way “@” replies work. It was silly that the “@”‘s were required to be recognized as a reply in the first place.

Now, considering you can now actually track on the back end the entire hierarchy of a conversation via the API “@”‘s are even less necessary as before. I’d like to see the various microblogging clients start to ignore the “@”‘s and allow users to simply type usernames when replying to another individual, assuming threads aren’t in place. Then, once threads start to show in your favorite microblogging clients, even the usernames shouldn’t be necessary.

I’ve mentioned before that IRC works this way and most IRC clients will look at the existing list of users in a room and automatically detect the username and notify the targeted user if the message is directed at that user. Not only that, but the IRC clients actually keep a cached version of the users in a particular room and will even auto-complete usernames if you begin typing in the username and hit “tab”. That’s what I’d like to start seeing microblogging clients do so long as they’re going to be supporting a communications platform, and it should start with Twitter and themselves on their own web interfaces.

Then again, all this may now be moot with threading available. Oh, and don’t even get me started on hashtags. (Those should be handled by the API, not in the content of the message!) I think I’m going to try a new experiment of just not using the “@”‘s like Steve Gillmor does – anyone else want to join me?

Laconica’s Not the Only Cool Kid In Town – Introducing OpenMicroblogger

omb.gifThere’s a new kid in town in the microblogging space, and no it’s not just “another microblogging site”. I talked to Brian Hendrickson, the lead developer behind and its accompanying service today and he may just have something to scare both Twitter, and Evan Prodromou of in their tracks. What’s amazing about it all is Brian has actually taken the OpenMicroBlogging protocol that Evan established and implemented the protocol in Brian’s own, non-laconica-based implementation of the protocol that would communicate with any other OpenMicroblogging protocol supported site, similar to the way I mentioned on LouisGray earlier. Yes, and the accompanying open source software it is based on will talk to, and on a completely different code base. That means you can follow anyone on within the service and vice-versa, and they were written from the ground up by two entirely different developers!

What’s even more amazing about this new platform is that while not a WordPress implementation, Brian seems to have made the platform almost entirely compatible with the WordPress plugin and theme API. So, basically, if you are a WordPress developer, you can write your own extensions to the code, implement your own versions of the code, and write your own themes, all in the same way you do on WordPress. Brian wrote the code from the ground up using a framework he built and calls “dbscript”, and it contains no WordPress code whatsoever. He felt WordPress was too bulky to handle a full Microblogging platform (do I smell a potential acquisition by Automattic?). In fact, adding in integration with the OpenMicroBlogging Protocol was as simple as just adding a simple PHP plugin to his dbscript implementaion. The look and feel of, his own implementation of the codebase, is all just an implementation of the WordPress Prologue theme that my friend Joseph Scott at Automattic wrote.

Picture 3.pngBrian tells me that while‘s codebase is very good technology (he had very good things to say about, Evan, and the codebase, especially when compared to Twitter), the technology underneath OpenMicroblogger and DBScript is even stronger and more scalable. According to him, “dbscript is an advanced ‘Restful’ framework with sophisticated features that are not found in the WordPress code base, it shares features with Ruby on Rails (ruby) and Django (python) — things like MVC, ActiveRecord, Routes, Content-Negotiation”. Because the underlying code is Restful, an API is almost inheritently provided for other developers to interact with your implementation of the code-base and write their own applications for it.

OpenMicroblogger and DBScript are based on an open source MIT license similar to the license Ruby is under. Brian says it took him just 8 weeks to write this advanced implementation, with other client projects going on at the same time and 2 kids, which shows how simple it is to implement the Openmicroblogging Protocol. It also shows his devotion to the work., the service that shows off his code, has some really nice features (also available in the code) such as sharing links and pictures with friends – definitely a little more advanced than in that manner. He fully supports the OpenID standard (he actually wrote his own OpenID host using his framework!), and is very big on OAuth and other standards and open protocols so you can expect to see much more around that with the site.

This one simple and amazing example goes to show that we have only hit the tip of the iceberg here on microblogging technology. Now that a Protocol has been established, you will see more and more sites and developers write their own extensions of the protocol to implement their own creative microblogging solutions and layers. This very creative and innovative solution could just be a more advanced option than to consider for Microbranded solutions in the future. Brian has taken “viral coding” to heart.

You can download the code, try out, learn more and help out the project over at I’ve created an account at, and you can actually just go there, follow me, and follow my updates right on! Or, you can go over and create an account for yourself.

UPDATE: Brian corrected me about it being more scalable than (see the comments below) – according to him, “Actually is the more robust code and is more scalable. dbscript is a meta-object framework and runs some extra queries to “learn” about the db schema — it is currently not very optimized for performance, but is geared towards being programmer-friendly.” Will Succeed Because Its Technology is Viral

logo.pngYesterday I guest-posted on about how the technology behind,, 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. 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.

Picture 1.jpgToday I noticed (through Steve Gillmor on another new interesting thing that I knew was coming – Brad Williams (@williamsba) wrote a bridge that essentially allows you to post on and have it automatically post to Twitter, prepended by “”. Interestingly enough, “Hippy Steve” (@exador23) pointed out now one of the top trends on Twitter as of today, according to is “identi”. Now, many of the posts you see on Twitter are going to become posts prepended by “”, and many more are going to feel pressured to join 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 “” from being prepended, but as long as you’re on 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, but the fact of the matter is, from a development standpoint these applications like Brad William’s bridge are simply easier to write for The lack of limits and plan to keep off those limits on are just one more thing that make the software behind viral. Developers want to develop for With an API that also supports Twitter (I mean literally, it is simply a change in the hostname for your Twitter code), developing for 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. 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 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 Check out my friend, Marina Martin‘s site, for some great howtos and tips all in one place. You can find me at

The Internationalization of Media

olympics.jpgI love the Olympics. It’s a time of competition, a time of pride, generally a time of peace, a time of celebration, and very much a time of new technology and media. I’m noticing something this year however and frankly, as an American it’s a little scary. Ironically, it has nothing to do with the athletes – it’s the lack of competition between American media and their international competitors.

It was a post by Robert Scoble on FriendFeed and the ensuing comments in fact, along with several other posts I’ve seen around the internet, that got me thinking about this. Scoble mentioned, “I hate NBC. They aren’t putting the Olympics on live. That really sucks.” Patricia Anderson responded, “How can you not agree with this? Hey, Robert, do you have access to CBC? I’ve been liking their coverage.” Phillip Jeffrey responded, “I’m watching CBC in Canada. Do you think it would be any different if another network was covering the Olympics in the States?” It appears the Canadian Broadcast Company is getting some serious attention this time around now that it is easier to access their broadcasts internationally, and they’re out-doing NBC in their own game by broadcasting some of the games live. NBC had better pay attention.

I’m noticing as I’m now on the internet much more than I am on the TV that I am getting the news about Olympic events way before I am able to see them on TV. It kind of spoils the fun of the Olympics to tell you the truth. I don’t blame the online news agencies giving me the news as it happens though – that’s what news is all about, and what I want! I’m blaming the companies like NBC that won’t give me the coverage I want as it happens. They have succumbed to the merits of their advertisers to try and sell content at the time that makes their advertisers most money, when, in reality they are ignoring the potential worldwide audience they could be obtaining through means such as the internet. The issue here is, they are only targeting American advertisers!

With services such as, Twitter, Facebook, and FriendFeed, the audiences in America that traditionally watch the Olympics on NBC are now getting updates real-time, some from people actually there, and this news is beating NBC and making their viewers want more live coverage. Viewers are no longer getting this information from NBC.

NBC traditionally has had no competition for the Olympics – it has traditionally been just one media company in the USA that could broadcast the Olympics. However, I can now go online and find many things, real-time, with absolutely no issue finding the access I need. NBC now has competition world-wide and I certainly hope they realize this soon. They’re missing a huge advertising opportunity here that I don’t think they have considered.

In the past, media companies in the USA were built from small town to small town until larger companies would buy them out and build a conglomerate out of those smaller subsidiaries. I’m afraid that’s changing though as we become a more worldwide audience and can talk to each other, worldwide, much easier, and this shift will move from small town to small town, to instead country to country. The large US media companies need to be thinking International now as they grow or this rich, free speech system we have in America right now could be beat by competitors worldwide. This is an issue we should all have concern for.

Are there international efforts you are seeing that have been successful amongst media companies? Is this lack of international competition something we should fear? Let’s chat in the comments below and on FriendFeed!

Fire Signal Server – The Inspiration Behind

logo.pngMy good friend, Scott Lemon, made me aware of an interesting project underway that appears to possibly have been the inspiration behind, the open source software behind the service, The project is called “Fire Signal“, and is the brain child of Ron Whitman, the developer behind the Twitter Traffic alerts site, Commuter Feed.

Fire Signal appears to be a set of standards set out to encourage micro-blogging platform developers to build their systems in an open, distributed way. states that they are building off of which is based on the “Open Microblogging Protocol“. Zenji Open Projects (Ron Whitman’s set of open standards) calls this protocol, “Fire Signal”. According to the Zenji Open Projects wiki,

“Fire Signal is an open protocol designed to allow users to publish and send short public and private messages of 160 characters or less across distributed web-based networks of Fire Signal Servers, the second initiative of this project. The concept behind this is commonly known by the term “micro-blogging”, popularized primarily by the web service Twitter and a growing number of competitors. “

650px-FireSignal_Overview.pngAccording to the diagram presented on the same page, the concept looks amazingly like the concepts behind, with multiple content servers all sharing data between each other. I see no links to code on the project (it seems to be a standard only, similar to the micro blogging protocol references), and Ron Whitman seems to be the only contributor, but the site does claim that is a working example of Fire Signal Server. It’s interesting that the website and openmicroblogging website make no mention of Fire Signal Server, nor does

It’s hard to tell if this was the origin of or not, or if several ideas all began at once, and ended up having the majority of efforts focused towards the project, but if it is the inspiration, Ron Whitman deserves a lot more credit for his contribution now that seems to be taking off by storm. If not, this does seem like an excellent new project to help out with – I hope the two projects could work together. I’m interested to find out more about the origins of this and how it relates to – this concept is truly the future of micro-blogging!

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UPDATE: Per Evan Prodromou, founder of, and the project, the two projects are indeed separate. Hopefully Ron Whitman can take his great ideas and contribute with the cause now. It’s nice to see lots of great minds wanting such a standard!