Explaining microblogging is slightly difficult, but I’ll give it a go:
You sign up for a microblogging service like twitter. You ‘follow’ your friends that are already on there, and perhaps some people that aren’t your friends but people who say interesting things. Once you’ve started following your friends, you might download a program for your computer to alert you when they post (or in the case of twitter ‘tweet’), and to allow you to post your own ‘tweets’ without having to visit the twitter website at all. This is great because it allows you to know what your friends are up to, or tell the world what you’re up to, or that you’ve just discovered an amazing new pizza at dominos.
When you post an update on a service like twitter, it’s totally public. You are broadcasting, and people who are following you will be automatically alterted to what you say. It gets really cool when you consider all of it can be done from your mobile/laptop/pc etc..
What’s wrong with twitter?
Now that’s cool, and I’ve used twitter and it’s good. However, there’s one (or two, perhaps three?) major flaws with twitter. The first being that it’s a closed service. Imagine if email was a closed service, eg people on hotmail could only send and recieve email from other people on hotmail and people on gmail could only send and recieve mail to @gmail addresses. This is effectively the problem with twitter, jaiku and all the 100’s of other closed microblogging services – it’s cool, but it’s silly. Oh yeah, the other things wrong with twitter are it breaks often is all closed up.
Enter laconi.ca. Laconi.ca is an open source microblogging server program. This means that anyone can start their own microblogging website. Please don’t stop reading here! This is where it gets good. You can easily link your microblogging website to any other laconi.ca microblogging website – adding to a big mesh of microblogging servers.. just like email servers. laconi.ca uses an open standard for communication also meaning that you’re not limited to using laconi.ca as your server.
Why is it better for me though?
laconi.ca does lots of cool things that twitter doesn’t! Firstly, you can use an instant messeging client with it, and post to your feed just by sending the laconi.ca contact a message. Secondly, you can ‘track’ certain words. Say you’re interested in cake, you can type into your IM client: track cake and every time someone posts something with the word ‘cake’ in it (not just your friends!) you’ll get their post. There’s other neat things I haven’t tried yet such as posting attachments and things, but it’s got some killer features that no other microblogging services have.. the best being it’s open.
Find me on identi.ca
You probably don’t want to have to set up your own laconi.ca server, so why not just use the ‘main’ one! Check out identi.ca and subscribe to me: johnhunt