Is the BBC talking too much about Twitter?

BBC Technology blog

Answer: No, well maybe… (I've been convincing my friends from Bristol for ages.)

This came up on the Backstage list via (Frank Wales) today along with another actually related topic which I pitched into the list. Seems the BBC might be annoying some people with its talk about twitter. Some have even suggest the BBC setup its own microblogging service.

Obviously I don't speak for the BBC but I thought I'd twitter it and see what comes back. Here's some of the responses.

dogsbodyorg @cubicgarden No idea if it's too much but surely it's better to talk about Twitter (an open company /w API & no ads) than Facebook / Myspace

euan @cubicgarden talking about it as individuals is one thing – appropriating it as an organisation is another

oliciv @cubicgarden I can remember thinking the same thing about Myspace when it was the hot new place to go on the internet and all over the media

lancew @cubicgarden wondering if BBC is obsessing over twitter, maybe they should setup a laconica server for BBC folks?

SoullaStylianou @cubicgarden nope I don't think BBC's mentions of twitter is OTT. Its basically of the moment is it not?

digitalmaverick @cubicgarden i think Twitter is as important as email, so I have no problem with BBC mentioning it lots at the moment

mmetcalfe @cubicgarden I thought the protesters were complaining about the Gaza situation, not a bloody microblogging platform!

So everyone keeps shouting we should setup our own.

I thereby recommend they have a look at It’s ‘micro-blogging’ software which functions in a very similar manner to twitter, but would allow the BBC to set up their own service, without having to lend commercial support to an entity. It’s also used to power – a ‘free’ rival to twitter. They’d have to think of a new name for the service though… what would you call it?

Well I'm happy to say we did. We used but haven't really made use of it yet. I was also thinking with the change in Jaiku's licensing we should set that up too. The main purpose of the setups was to interop on to and off Twitter and Jaiku at the time plus kill off the internal twitter system Yammer which I'm still not totally convinced about (although others are). At least someone should have told Peter about Yammer.

So whats going to happen? I think as the BBC gets its heads around microblogging it will quickly notice that not only is it somewhat promoting a single startup through its wording but that Microblogging is much bigger and like how we don't host our blogs on, we will want to host it ourselves. There's all type of things we could do with our microblogging system, things which are forbidden on Twitter or even not possible because of the way Twitter is setup. The obvious example is a children's microblogging service. This will resolve its self and it will be the geeks who had a hand in the new bright future of the BBC.

And at the end of the day, some fun.

imran @cubicgarden not only can't the bbc stop talking about twitter, but now the bbc is talking about the bbc talking about twitter /images/emoticons/wink.gif

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The day the cloud rained


In my data portability presentation, I always talk about services going away or changing. But even I hadn't really considered what happens when theres simply data lost. Ma.gnolia was a service I did use briefly between my switch from delicious to evernote and back to delicious. I had a ton of bookmarks on there but only really had 20 or so which were not on delicious or evernote. On top of that, I use a simple cron job to pull down my bookmarks every few weeks. However even this method isn't perfect as I sometimes have my laptop offline when the time comes around for the next backup. I really should move the cron job to my download machine which is always on and connected to the net.

Anyway I was lucky, I was reading stories earlier in the month from people who couldn't trust online services again with there data. I hope over time they will find ways of trusting services but I totally see the need for more services/apps which offer simple backup solutions. For example Conduit could be perfectly placed for this type usage, if there was more providers and generic hooks. The other solution is to simply have your data running through many services. One goes down and looses everything, another can be pulled upon to get the data back. Actually Ma.gonlia is using Friendfeed to recover some of its data, so it may sound slightly crazy but its already happening. Right now my microblogging activities are aggreagated over about 4 different services including twitter,, Jaiku and My RSS reading is still all on Newsgator but I'm planning a cron job for the APML (one of the things i'm missing from ma.gnolia) and OPML. Plus I have Newsgator offline clients on 2 phones, 1 ipod and 2 computers.

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Many thoughts about Google Latitude

Google spy in your pocket headline from the Metro Newspaper

When new technology comes along and disrupts, its hard to grapple with the questions and answers. I've been thinking about Google Latitude for a while since I got it working on Friday night and decided theres quite a lot of complexity to this new distruptive technology. Here's what I've been thinking

  • In Google Latitude you can turn the share my location off but what about those who you want to show your location. There's no fine grain control over what your friends can see it would seem.
  • Even if you could control what each friend saw, it would be a pain in the ass to change each time. Maybe in the future some kind of grouping would make more sense.
  • Following on from that, it would be good to see a more Fireeagle type response, where I can say to a group of friends I'm in this city, while to the public I can say I'm in this country. And of course to the selected group of friends, which street I'm actually on
  • But also following that, will friend get funny about only being able to see which City I'm in instead of the area or street. Maybe they will only share what you share with them?
  • Maybe it even makes sense that you can only share what that other person shares with you? so if I share only which city I'm in with all my friends, I can't see which street there on. Reforce the friends factor?
  • I've decided not to add close work mates to my friends list because I really don't want them to know where I am. And yes I can turn it off but then theres the whole, why did you turn it off? Were you hiding something?
  • Using your mobile with cell trianglation is pretty good but with additional GPS you can track right down to a small range of house addresses.
  • I didn't agree to Google Latitude getting my updates from Jaiku, even if they are public. But hey its not bad little feature
  • Where's the public view of Latitude for some of more darling types? And talking of which, where's the API, ical feeds and georss feeds?

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