Monday, July 30, 2007

Twitter, Pownce and Jaiku: The Birth of Micro-blogging

If you haven't used Twitter, Pownce or Jaiku yet, you're probably in the minority. These relatively new social networking sites have exploded - each growing almost exponentially. Here are screenshots of each:

Many are calling these social networks, or micro-blogs. In Twitter and Jaiku you provide information about your thoughts, activities and/or whereabouts. Some users update so often, that it's almost like real-time updates. Pownce works similarly, but allows users to easily share links, files and events. Twitter is still the most popular of the three, but Pownce - by invitation only - seems to be gaining quickly. I'm not sure I understand the attraction of these sites - maybe it's generational, but they're very popular and seem to be addictive.

Here is one interesting and real-world use of Twitter by the Los Angeles Fire Department. Members of the fire department provide real-time updates of LAFD activities and operations. Anyone interested can subscribe or follow this Twitter. Imagine the uses at a college or university - we could provide updates on availability of writing or math labs or even our testing center. We could also provide registration information in real-time, such as number of seats, new sections, cancellations etc. To think of it, you could also use these tools to manage your office hours - in real-time!

Here's a great New York Times article on Pownce and co-founder Kevin Rose. Who's Kevin Rose you ask? Kevin is the 30-year old wunderkind behind hugely successful news/social networking site Digg allows user to post links to interesting news or websites and other users to either "digg" or "bury" the article. Stories with the most diggs rise to the top, while others disappear - it's a great way to let the community filter news.

I have a few pownce invites left, email me at if you'd like one - first come first served.

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