in Services

Twitter and the mobility dilemma

In the last couple of weeks I have been playing around with Twitter.

Personally I think it’s a cool idea. It’s a very simple service that allows your friends or, if you don’t care much about your privacy, strangers to be updated on what you are doing.

Using a mobile originated SMS, an Instant Message or a Web page you can make a short statement on what you are doing in that particular moment. At the same time your friends can be updated via SMS or using an RSS feed. Cool!

This is a simple service with a great potential. They have the opportunity to enhance the service in so many different ways.

One of the most interesting point on Twitter is the mobility stuff. You can send updates via SMS and receive updates via SMS. I think this is the most innovative area of the service. Personally I would not like to update my friends saying that I’m working on one of those boring Powerpoint presentations while I’m sitting at my desk. Instead I would to say them that I’m enjoying a perfect meal in a fancy new restaurant, or that I’m walking on the seaside, or something else like this.

This kind of scenario implies that I will be moving around with no access to any personal computer. But, as we know, mobile phone are ubiquitous. I always have my mobile phone with me and, possibly, SMS will always work on any network, even in a roaming situation.

Let’s just try to imagine how the service may evolve:

  • The step from SMS to MMS is a simple one. Let’s not tell my friend what I am doing, let’s show them what I am doing. MMS is powerful. It can hold images, videos and sounds (also recorded with the phone voice recorder application).
  • If I’m holding my phone with me chances that the operator know where I am are very high. Not talking about GPS but simple cell based location would be enough. Tell my friends what I am doing and where I am doing it.
  • The update may be sent via a simple voice call or video call and at the same time your friend may receive a voice call or a video call with the update or your message may be packaged in an MMS and sent to your friends.

Combining these two elements would boost the service appeal. Well, at least to me!

Interesting to notice that adding media capability to twitter will make the RSS feed a podcast or vidcast without any hassle for the user.
I think that possibilities are pretty much infinite. Let’s just think at some mashup combining location data with other services like Google Maps and Google Video or YouTube.

Why do I blog this? Well, any single time I check a new service I try to understand how it can be made better or how it can evolve in time.