paul bennett

Thoughts on an open messaging platform

Posted on: May 8, 2009

Twitter in the microblogging world now has the pull of Google in the search world – if you’re not ‘on Twitter’ you’re nowhere inn terms of being able to connect, share and promote via microblogging (surmising that Twitter now gets 80 – 90% of microblogging traffic / use.)
This effectively locks the market into one monopoly platform – Twitter.

Imagine this applied to blogging or web publishing. Say there were many publishing services, you could only use one publishing service at a time and publishing service A had 90% of the total traffic and users.

If you weren’t using publishing service A, regardless of the quality of your content, you’d miss out on 90% of the traffic, connection or exposure just by being on a less popular service. Not a nice thought.

omp-diagram
Would an open messaging platform – essentially a server application which allows you to create a master account and associate ‘child’ accounts to it for other microblogging services (Twitter, Jaiku et al) make any difference in leveling the microblogging playing field?

The idea is that the platform would broadcast your posts or ‘tweets’ to all your subscribed services, but would also aggregate posts from the users you’re following and stream them back to your ‘open messaging’ client.

Rather than ‘a twitter client’, you could have a general micro blogging client offering not only the power to broadcast your posts to multiple services, but to also aggregate the incoming messages regardless of what service they came from.

It wouldn’t matter what service someone you follow was using (surmising that you also had an account on that service), because in your microblogging client, you’d see one unified stream of updates regardless of the API they were built on.

Microblogging would become a standardised platform in its own right.  Rather than having disparate API’s, an open messaging platform could seek and serve to unify microblogging API’s and REST-based services, or at least provide a simple bridging framework between them.

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6 Responses to "Thoughts on an open messaging platform"

Paul,

Sounds like a terrific idea.

Some things I think you need to address include how this relates to protocols like XMPP, and how it is different from friendfeed.com (i guess being ‘open’ is the key).

I wonder how the recent announcement that ‘facebook will let developers play in the status stream’ would relate to this idea also?

Just doing a bit of further digging on this – and i would say also definitely worth also thinking about http://www.gnip.com/ which I had never heard of – as mentioned on tech crunch here: http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/07/18/twitter-plays-nice-xmpp-firehose-data-feed-to-gnip/

Have you seen digsby

@Miles,

XMPP has definitely also been on my mind too – not sure how utilised it is for service integration outside of IM. I know Flickr were / are looking at it.

@Michael

Digsby has similarities and differences to what I’m talking about. Not necessarily a client, but a distributed set of servers which can stream content to / from any compatible device in one stream rater than splitting data into separate services and UI’s.

Maybe http://openmicroblogging.org/ is something you want to know about:
“OpenMicroBlogging is a protocol that lets users of one microblogging service subscribe to notices by users of another service. The protocol, based on OAuth, is open and free, and doesn’t depend on any central authority to maintain the federated microblogs.”
identi.ca is a microblogging service which is not proprietary (free software) and which uses this open standard.

@stefon, thanks for the heads up – openmicroblogging is definitely on the same wavelength as what I was proposing.

Ironically, I only discovered today that Pownce shut down in Dec 2008, making my diagram somewhat inaccurate…

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