March 2008


Via Forbes.com: Most popular stories:

Stocks are on pace for a positive month, but another slide could dash those hopes.

Wow. They really have no idea what to write about regarding the economy anymore, do they?

They might as well have written “Things could be good today! Unless they’re bad.”

So, should I avoid the obvious joke that what he’s done with prostitutes is what other politicians do to America? At least Spitzer’s deeds are out in the open now, unlike the dealings of others…

I joined Twitter recently, and I’m loving the way you can post things quickly. I encouraged all my friends to join, because that’s what Twitter is all about. Once you’ve all joined and you’re all “following” each other, then it’s like you’re kind of hanging out again. It would be awesome for my Philly friends, and for my family. Twitter kind of erases the distance; it’s like you’re all together again.

So Twitter isn’t about a microblog service. It’s about hanging out with your friends with virtually no effort during your busy day.

But Twitter’s not the only service that does this. So does Pownce, and so does Tumblr. So which one’s the best?

Well, it depends. Revjim.net has a good article on the distinctions between the services, and it’s worth reading.

I have a simpler take on the situation. I haven’t investigated all three services yet, but gut feelings can be telling.

Twitter is all about popularity. You go with Twitter because everyone’s there. It’s amazing—with a Twitter client on my computer feeding me tweets, I find out about world happenings before they hit the regular web, let alone the traditional news media.

But Twitter has problems. It can’t handle the traffic. It tends to bog down and break. Although they’ve made some amazing strides with this problem in recent weeks, they haven’t eradicated it. In addition, some people would like more options form Twitter. These are the tech guys who want some nicer features, and access to the features so that they can write programs to interact with Twitter. The argument against this view is that Twitter is simple for a reason, and if you add too many features, the speed and simplicity is lost.

So, people look at Pownce. Pownce is nicer, thay say. It has more features. It has a better, more fleshed out API for programs to interact with. and it’s more stable. In short, Pownce gives them everything they can’t seem to get from Twitter.

But nobody’s on Pownce.

So most Twitterites (Twitterbugs? These cute Web 2.x names bug the crap out of me) go to Pownce, hang around for a few days, and then go back to Twitter. It’s like a nice new bar with no clientele. You go back to the place where, well, everybody knows your name.

And Tumblr? Well, in most industries there are room for two big names, and a third smaller, more distant competitor. Coke and Pepsi have RC, for instance. That’s what Tumblr seems like to me, the RC cola of the microblog world. Don’t get me wrong, I love RC cola. And Tumblr proponents say that Tumblr isn’t really like Twitter or Pownce, that it’s for “richer data,” although I’m not sure what they mean by that. In the microblog world, Tumblr (at present) seems a distant third.

So, back to Twitter. Twitter’s like an old girlfriend you go back to because all of your friends like her. But if she keeps abusing you, how long before you throw in the towel for good? Well, OK, Twitter doesn’t abuse people. But some tech folks are beginning to make an issue of Twitter, and are sounding the trumpet to try Pownce.

So I guess I’ll look at Pownce. But frankly, I feel like it’s the Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD debate all over again. I’m not that attached to microblogging. I just want to hang out with my friends. I’ll look at Pownce, but Twitter works for me fine until (and unless) everyone goes somewhere else.

Then maybe I’ll switch. There are no easy answers, people. Sorry.

Um, happy soulmate-ship?