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.