The (De) Construction Of Twitter

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In the last couple of weeks, both WordPress and Tumblr have announced support for the Twitter API.

The immediate benefits are that any forward thinking Twitter client can now also be a WordPress or Tumblr client as well. Tweetie, one of the most popular iPhone clients, has had support for this for a while and immediately became the tool of choice for testing the new features out. Choices for users expand.

So, with that development aside, where next? I see three things.

1) WordPress should publish an official plugin for WordPress.org that enables the Twitter API for any blog. This act alone could create millions of possible twitter servers.

2) WordPress/Tumblr should make a big deal about how their new changes are also already tied in with real time protocols RSSCloud and pubsubhubbub. This helps make the new twitter servers real time.

3) Everybody outside of Twitter should huddle for a brief second and add some new syntax to the existing twitter api that allows for a piece of metadata to be attached (urls to start), call it optional, and implement.

Or, in short– Now that you’ve shown how easy it is to implement Twitter’s API, rip it out of their hands, build a new community, and then market the hell out of it.

On pubsubhubbub (Part 2) – Get with it, PuSH, you’re supposed to be realtime.

Or at least that’s what I thought you were supposed to be. But that’s not what I’m seeing. What I am seeing is the groundwork for a real time network– link rel=”hub” has been added to every Blogger feed and every FeedBurner feed, no? What I am not seeing are the real time feed updates coming from that network.

I setup My Status Cloud as both RSS Cloud and PuSH enabled. But when I post a new Tweet or cloud message, I can only rely consistently on Dave Winer’s RSS Cloud hub to pass my update information on. The “official” pubsubhubbub server is hit and miss. Whether it’s rate limiting or being lazy, in my little decentralized 140 character network, not every status update is pushed to me immediately by PuSH. Some are grouped together after two updates have been sent. That’s not real time.

I’ve subscribed to many feeds that are PuSH enabled through My Status Cloud. Or at least the FeedBurner feed published indicates that they are. When do I get the updates? Often a large amount of time after they are published. Whenever I’ve gotten a notification from an RSS Cloud server, it is usually within seconds, sometimes up to a minute.

You. Are. Random. That’s the perception I have. There are so many feeds that I’m passed PuSH notifications throughout the day for – with old content and no new content. Fat pings, useful? Yes. More fat pings than necessary? Not so much.

I’ll be honest. I haven’t taken the time to read through the complete documentation to see if I can figure out how the server end of things is supposed to work behind the scenes. When I decide to build a server, I will. Maybe I’m missing an explanation for the sporadic-ness that is coming out of there, but it really should be resolved. If we’re going to be real time, let’s be it already.

On RSS Cloud and pubsubhubbub (Part 1) – Publishers Have Some Work To Do

The web is live.

Yes, seriously, it is there there already.

I built a public aggregator that supports RSS Cloud and PubSubHubbub. Dave Winer has a public aggregator that supports RSS Cloud. Lazyfeed has an aggregator that supports RSS Cloud and PubSubHubbub. Google Reader has started to adopt PubSubHubbub. Many more are on the way, if not already here. A few more light switches to flip and all of a sudden you are playing catch up.

Who’s you? Let’s try who isn’t first.

CNN has it. Their news wire feed has been RSS Cloud enabled almost since the moment that Dave Winer announced support for RSS Cloud in WordPress.

Om has it. Another that has been RSS Cloud enabled since the beginning.

Techcrunch has it two ways – RSS Cloud through the main feed and pubsubhubbub through the FeedBurner feed.

Gizmodo supports pubsubhubub through FeedBurner. GDGT supports pubsubhubbub through their native feed.

Who doesn’t?

Engadget has nothing enabled. They’re now the last source of gadget information. NY Times – nothing, LA Times – nothing, AP – nothing, Washington Post – nothing, MSNBC – nothing, Fox News – pretends to, Reuters – pretends to. More detail on the “pretends to” later, anybody else I’m forgetting?

So what do you do as a publisher?

You Read and then implement.

If I can ship an RSS Cloud aggregator in a little over a week from scratch, and add support for pubsubhubbub in a night, all while working a full time job during the day that has nothing to do with either…. you can afford to spend some time figuring out the best way for you to publish content using real time tech.

Which one is better? I don’t make those decisions. Which one should you implement? Whichever one you ship first. Just do it already and get on board.

What shouldn’t you do as a publisher?

I’m not usually one to say this, but don’t put all your faith in Google. Not yet at least. Just because you’re site uses FeedBurner and FeedBurner has decided they support pubsubhubbub, doesn’t mean that your content is actually being pushed in real time. More than likely you’re setup to ping FeedBurner separately. Feedburner then decides when to poll you before turning around and notifying the hub that the content is updated.

Instead, take control of your publishing process. Your web folks should be able to make the basic notifications required for both RSS Cloud and pubsubhubbub to work. And this should something that is done separate from the FeedBurner process. Don’t count on them to ping on their time. Ping when you publish.

The web is live, RSS and Atom are alive, and content is flowing in real time. I’m harnessing it, and you will be soon. If you are a publisher, you do not want to miss this boat.

My Status Cloud – Now Supporting RSS Cloud and pubsubhubbub

The third post written is the first post published. How does that work?

Anyhow.

Number One.

As of last night, My Status Cloud has support for both RSS Cloud and pubsubhubbub.

Now, while everyone decides which protocol to use, we can just use them. Ship both first, then decide. I like that answer the best.

Actually, they both have benefits and can probably coexist. More notes on what I think will follow. I’ve been closely watching the notifications roll in and I do have some observations to share. Even more so than you will see in the next couple posts.

Number Two.

I stated the other night how I felt about the work I’ve been doing. Pretty proud actually. I don’t normally get that way, but it’s cool. 🙂 In fact, how many aggregators do you know support both RSS Cloud and pubsubhubbub? LazyFeed and…. Just saying.

What this really means is that I’ve been head down coding most nights without paying attention much to the usability of the site. I like having something to play with before I decide how to use it. I also avoided any kind of closed alpha/beta time because I think watching the progress can be fun for people. So, usability changes are on the way. Little helpers and hints to make things easy to use will be added.

If you’re using it, let me know. This really is your chance to have a feed reader that has the features you want. We’ll build them. And more feature posts will be coming soon explaining exactly why it is you should be using My Status Cloud.

🙂

If Users Could Choose How They Publish

I mentioned something briefly the other day that I’ve been rolling in my head a bit ever since. A perfect topic for #blogpostfriday. 🙂

We have a bunch of fun new tech coming out of the web right now. At least two of those things, pubsubhubbub and rssCloud, deal with adding elements to feeds that tell subscribers how to sign up for quick update notification.

The painful part of this new tech is that not everybody who wants to enable it has a choice.

Sure, we could all publish our material directly and be responsible for the structure of our feeds, but that isn’t reality. We rely on Twitter to publish our Tweets, Google to publish our Shared Items, WordPress.com to publish our Blogs– the list goes on and on.

Example. I’m aching to try rssCloud concepts out on every feed that I can get my hands on. But I can’t. The only feed I can immediately provide the cloud element in is the one generated from the application that I wrote specifically for the purpose.

In a perfect world (ha), Twitter, Reader, WordPress would say – “Hi User – here are the optional elements available in ..insert publishing spec.. that we aren’t using. Would you like to fill them in?” – Then bam, I get to test cloud support on several different feeds immediately. There would still be a little manual work in notifying the cloud server when things are updated, but everyone who subscribes to the feed would know what server they should subscribe through for instant updates.

Now, spread the concept out a bit — if I can choose where the material is published, which specification is used, as well as what’s included in it, then I as a user have a wonderful amount of freedom in being able to do what I want to with my data. That is what publishing tools should be focused on.