seesmic – Stay N Alive

The Coolest Thing I Saw at Chirp? It Wasn’t the Twitter Platform

Amongst all the amazing things being launched at Twitter’s Chirp developer conference: @anywhere, User Streams, New developer Terms, Ad Platform Announcements, and more, nothing truly got me excited in a way that said, “this is the future”.  True, User Streams will save me thousands.  @anywhere is very convenient.  None of them are “change the world” breakthroughs though.  Let’s face it – Twitter, with the exception of real-time (until next week), is playing catch up with Facebook.  However, there was one thing that caught my eye as “game changing”.  That was today, when Loic Le Meur of Seesmic introduced to me his plugin platform for Seesmic desktop.  Here’s what it does:

Basically, Seesmic has enabled an entire Silverlight-based platform for developers to completely customize the entire experience of the Seesmic desktop.  From the streams, to being able to integrate your own photo service, to enabling link parsing and shortening in your own way, to even altering and integrating with the search box, developers have full control of the entire desktop environment for customizing not just your Twitter experience, but your Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, or even open environments like and any environment you choose.  Loic talked to me about a potential Youtube client targeted towards just viewing and finding Youtube videos through the browser.

The great thing is that this is all user-targeted.  Each install is packageable in developers’ or brands’ own skin, in whatever logos or colors you like.  Developers can even specify what plugins get installed as part of the package.  Once the user downloads the initial install, users can then download and modify additional plugins to customize it for their own experience.  The entire experience is win-win for both developers and users!

In one fell swoop, Seesmic has gone from being a desktop client for Twitter, to an entire platform that not only encompasses Twitter, but also Facebook, and potentially Myspace, LinkedIn, Youtube,, and more.  This is the “core” I was talking about last week, and Loic has embodied the spirit of it all.  I can’t wait to see what developers do with this, and probably in close tie with Kynetx, it’s the most amazing thing I’ve seen since the Facebook Platform launch.

Developers can get started at  The platform is based on Microsoft Silverlight.  Don’t like Silverlight? Write your own environment (Google Gadgets?) as a plugin for developers to write for!  This is amazing stuff – I’m so excited to see what happens, and when we’ll all be meeting for the first Seesmic Conference for developers.

Wanna see it in action?  Check out Scoble’s interview with Seesmic founder, Loic Le Meur here.

It’s Time to Free the Twitter Client

infocard_114x80Dave Winer wants a programmable Twitter client. I think it’s a great idea.  It’s something the browser has had for quite awhile now via extensions, frameworks, and plugins.  Up until this point Twitter clients have been closed systems that can’t really be extended in any way.  Loic Lemeur thinks he has the answer with the ability to extend his company’s Seesmic Desktop client – I applaud them for this – it’s something that I think would allow apps like my to help clean up the stream both in and out of Twitter.  In this way the Twitter client isn’t stuck with exclusive relationships where partners have to pay large sums of money to participate.  Developers and users have full control over the experience they get from the client.  I have a recommendation for Loic, Iain, and other social browser developers though: extend your browsers using open standards if you’re going to do it.

Up to this point we’ve been talking server-based open architectures.  You have OpenID, OAuth, Wave, rssCloud, Pubsub Hubbub, heck, you even have HTTP, SMTP, and even TCP/IP.  But up until now there haven’t been many client-based architectures that extend across any client enabling developers to easily write code for any web client on the client side and have that port from the AIR client to another AIR client, to the browser, and to any other app that touches the web.  Fortunately that technology is here now, and I think the Twitter and Facebook client developers have the opportunity to push this stuff mainstream and put pressure on the generic web browser developers to do the same with their own extension architectures.  That technology is the Selector – Action cards.

Craig Burton said the Cookie is dead, and this is why:  Cookies can’t extend across multiple applications on a single computer.  The Selector has that potential.  Imagine a plugin architecture that read an Information Card to identify you on Twitter or Facebook, etc.  You could add to it an Action card from a site like SocialToo (my site), and based on that Action card and the settings set forth in the Action card by the user the entire Seesmic Desktop experience will be customized based on the settings SocialToo set for that user based on their preferences.  The cool thing about this is it can all be done in simple (and open) Javascript using frameworks like Kynetx’ KRL.

If I were Loic Lemeur I would seriously be studying the open standard of Information cards and especially Action cards right now.  He has the opportunity to follow an open standard in this plugin development architecture that would extend across his app into other apps and even the browser.  This is Seesmic’s opportunity to lead in this effort.  If not other clients will take the ball by embracing these standards – developers will flock to this if it’s done right.

My hope is that Seesmic and any other Twitter or Facebook client can do these plugin architectures the right way.  Information cards and Action cards right now are the most open and extensive way for any desktop (or even mobile) client to put control back in the developers’, and more importantly, the users’ hands.  I hope they do the right thing.

I commented on Loic’s blog post but did not receive a response – hopefully we can hear more about their plans for this new architecture soon, and let’s hope it’s built on open standards.  If you write the first Twitter client to support Information cards or Action cards let me know and you’ll get a big fat blog post here promoting the heck out of it.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s the future of the web and we need to be pushing it as much as possible.  I’m calling all client developers to action.

Be sure to read my article on my vision for no log in buttons here – it will help you understand this stuff, and more of my vision, even further.


Does Twitter Have An Internal iPhone App?

TwitterA while back I was surfing the Twitter developers wiki and noticed 2 interesting images uploaded by Ryan Sarver, Twitter’s Platform Project Manager.  One of the images looks like a very rough status message entry screen, with a toggle button for Twitter’s new geolocation feature.  This same feature just launched in read-only mode on Seesmic’s new desktop app yesterday.  The second image is what looks like a screenshot of an iPhone screen prompting the user to enable Geolocation, taking the user to their Geolocation settings to enable it on a user’s account.

Then, today, Robert Scoble pointed out that you could see the new Geolocation feature launched in Seesmic Desktop in action by viewing Ryan Sarver’s tweets in the Twitter client.  This makes me wonder how Ryan is broadcasting his location.  Does Twitter have an internal iPhone app they are using, or are these just proof of concept images for other developers to use in their own apps?

Twitter has long been criticized for the lack of a good native mobile client.  They have also admitted in the past that a new version of at least the mobile web client is in the roadmap.  Could they be taking this a step further and building an entire iPhone app out of it?

Based on current facts the natural assumption would be that this is just an internal app they are using to test out mobile features like geo-location.  The roughness of the screenshots and focus on just geolocation that we know of thus far lends to that conclusion.  However, it’s important for all developers to be prepared, and be aware that in any market sustained by just Twitter your greatest competitor could just be your supplier of information (a concept I learned in business school), Twitter itself.  If you’re developing an iPhone or mobile app for Twitter this is indeed something you should always be prepared for.

Here are the screenshots – you tell me. Is Twitter building an internal iPhone app?

Geotagging Toggle UXPopup+Disclosure