Twitter is quite a nice way into online publishing. It’s quick and easy to both contribute to, listen to others and expand your network of readers.
However, I can imagine that, for quite lot of people, just using Twitter could rapidly get pretty limiting. It would be like only communicating with text messages, and never using email.
However, starting a blog can be a big ask. They are easy enough to get up and running but can consume hours of tweaking the way it looks, or the way certain things work. Then there is the ‘pressure’ of producing regular posts, which can seriously put people off!
Twitwall might just be the answer for these people. It is an extension of Twitter, using its API to enable people to write longer posts, post video or photos on your Twitwall, which pings your twitter feed each time you publish.
This video helps explain a little about how TwitWall works:
For someone like me, who uses Twitter already, and also has a blog, there isn’t much use for Twitwall. But for those who are comfortable with Twitter, but not quite sure about jumping into the blogosphere, it could be perfect.
I have been playing with FriendFeed today. It’s an interesting service that I first wrote about back in February, but haven’t paid a massive amount of attention to since. For those not in the know, FriendFeed is a service that performs three main functions:
- It allows you to aggregate the content you put online using different services into one place, such as your blog posts, flickr photos, YouTube videos, delicious bookmarks, Google Reader shared items, etc etc
- It allows you to subscribe to your contacts’ friendfeeds too, and presents all of their items, along with yours into a single timeline, so you can follow what people are up to
- It allows you to comment on items in people’s feeds, as well as marking whether you like them or not. So it becomes another place where conversations might happen, though with Twitter Friendfeed will add your comments to that service too.
This last point is one which would bother me a little, I guess, because I would prefer it that comments about what I do (mainly on this blog) all appear in one place. Perhaps I am already being overtaken by how distributed conversations can now become, who knows. But at the moment, other than a few very high profile folk, not that many people appear to be spending a lot of time in FriendFeed.
I’m starting to see some of the value, especially now I have reduced the number of people I follow. This is not like twitter, with short messages, people can have loads of different things reported into their FriendFeed and the noise can be deafening. Better to keep FriendFeed as the place you track your most preferred sources of stuff, I reckon. If you would like to follow me, I am at http://friendfeed.com/davebriggs.
One other bit of functionality of FriendFeed, though, is rooms. These are separate pages on the site which allow groups of people to recommend content to each other, whether in the form of short messages or posted links, photos, videos, blog posts etc etc. It seems like a cool, easy way of sharing and discussing online resources. I have started a room for government webby stuff at http://friendfeed.com/rooms/govweb – do join in and let’s see how useful it actually is!
Posterous is the easiest blogging platform in the world to use. No, really.
All you have to do to get started is to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – no signup needed to begin with. I have given it a go here, and am pretty impressed with the way it handled Gmail’s rich text emails. Attachments like photos are added to your posts, and audio can be played with a flash player that’s automatically embedded when you send an mp3 to Posterous.
Also, if you include a link to, say, a YouTube video, Posterous automatically embeds the video in your blog, rather than just linking to it. Find out more about what Posterous can do.
If you take the time to register with the site, you can add a profile and an avatar, which is quite nice. Posterous is a good alternative to quick blogging tools like Tumblr, for example, and given the ease of use, maybe even Twitter.
The only concern will be around security. The site reckons it can spot spoof email addresses, but there have ben examples already of people posting to other people’s blogs. Hopefully this can be ironed out in the future, because Posterous has real potential, I feel, not least because of it’s reliance on email, which for most people is work, while the web is playing.