There was a time when the only way I would vent my spleen on an issue or topic would be via this blog. If you look through the archives, you'll no doubt note some one-off topics that were written with some form of earnestness, but were quickly forgotten in the moment. You may also notice that this blog has remained a tad fallow lately. Let me assure you that I haven't had a spleen transplant, but have found other ways to vent my spleen.
If you've been paying attention to the site, you might remember a Twitter box in the lower right corner. Twitter is a micro-blogging service which allows you to add single 140 character messages into a public timeline. These can be followed by other users of Twitter, and you in turn can follow users that you find interesting. I think the best way to describe it is opt-in IRC, where you define your own chat room by whomever you follow. Also, twitter allows you to add items to the timeline by several devices, like cellphones and other clients. This makes it ridiculously simple to send in simple messages like "I'm at the corner of 3rd and Main at the Starbucks. Want to meet up?", and have those who follow your messages get the invitation. The short nature of the posts also means you can get out an idea without feeling obligated to fill up a whole blog posting. It's a neat idea.
What's even cooler to me is a certain twitter-like service called identi.ca. identi.ca is a microblogging service that is open-source, and allows services to "federate" their content. Twitter, Facebook, and other services have communities that are pretty much service specific (ie: I can't subscribe to someone's facebook wall in Twitter, and someone else can't get my Twitter posts in their Facebook wall). Federation means that someone could be on another laconica (the name of identi.ca's software) server, and would be able to subscribe to my identi.ca posts and see them as if I was on their server. This is a huge boon to following people because ideally I don't have an account on their service, and they don't have to have an account on my service.
The original point I had in mind for this post was to discuss the differences between Twitter, FriendFeed and identi.ca, but since the original idea, I've deleted my Twitter account completely, and have moved to identi.ca. identi.ca to me is a better community to keep up with since most of the folks I keep up with have moved over to identi.ca.
But, that doesn't mean I've abandoned following the Twitter community at all. FriendFeed is an aggregation service which will follow the activities of people I find interesting. They can choose to publish their tweets (on Twitter, a "tweet" is a post), identi.ca posts (dents?), Amazon Wishlists, Flickr photos... you name it. FriendFeed is what services like Mugshot wanted to be, but didn't have the inertia to keep up. I currently follow FriendFeed via RSS in Google Reader, so it's handy to be able to keep up with my friends.
I've been slow to adopt services like Twitter and Facebook, partly because I run my own blog, but I've found that Twitter isn't a blog replacement; it's a communication tool like IRC. And Facebook isn't a replacement for my blog, but a gateway for others to find me on those services.
Which is why I set up a Facebook profile last night. (Anyone that has heard my rants on Facebook are now allowed to ridicule me mercilessly.)