Twitter vs Jabber

Twitter logoAs you might know, Twitter is the hype of last months. Everybody and their dog are updating their current activities like crazy.

As a spin off, many secondary purposes are being created on top of the public Twitter API.

This reminds me of the old days when Jabber was started as an open IM protocol. Lots of geeky applications sprung into life, like monitoring incoming email (headers), keeping an eye on your computer logs and such. Now the Jabber protocol (XMPP) is being used as the basis for a couple of IM platforms, like Google Talk. Many of those early applications are now official a XMPP extension. The platform has matured, but lost its appeal to the geeky crowd.

Today, these kinds of applications are being built on Twitter by the dozens.
Without any effort, I found lots and lots of them. I estimate these are less than 5% of all Twitter applications out there, so the list is really getting huge.

  • MoniTwitter (answering one simple question: What’s your website doing?)
  • TwitterIsWeird (displays pairs of twitter quotes in comic balloons)
  • PingTwitter (update Twitter when you publish a new blog post)
  • TwitterChat (2-way live shoutbox-twitter integration)
  • Twitterific (Mac OSX client application)

And then we have the Twitterforum, an unofficial Twitter related discussions site, listing even more twitter related applications and sites.

So does the Twitter API popularity have to do with its incredible simplicity? And its pluggability for the protypical web 2.0 platform (yes, it has a JSON interface)?

I’m not sure, but I hacked togeter my own little contribution to this madness in just half an hour: Browse with Twitter, a Greasemonkey script for Firefox.

Update your status with a message “Browsing: [document.title]” whenever you load a web page.

Fair warning: don’t install this script if you do value your privacy (or at least restrict it to the sites you explicitly want to show up on twitter).