Technical Blog

Microblogging: The Open Wall

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I first experienced the beginnings of the “social web” in highscool.  My friends all had Xanga sites, which were basically blogs about nothing.  One practise of theirs, which annoyed me and seemed not to be present on the rest of the blogs I found, was that they abused comments horribly.  Comments were never about the content of the post.  Rather, to contact someone, you would comment on their most recent post.  To reply to someone’s comment, you would comment on the most recent post on their site.

This is exactly how Myspace profile comments and the Facebook “wall” are intended to work.  Facebook even built the “wall-to-wall” feature to show conversations back and forth across this odd system.

Now think of microblogging. Think of how you use it. Yes, there’s a publication aspect to it for sure (I say what I want people to hear).  There is also, however, this element of public conversation people seem so interested in.  Back-and-forth between two or more people, on their own pages, archived publicly.

What’s even better about this realization? I hated the Xanga comments, I hate the Facebook wall (and their new “comment on status” feature), but I love @replies.  So it wasn’t the concept of public conversations I wasn’t getting, but merely an implementation detail.  @replies are piped through a good notification system (which for Twitter these days involved scraping a feed and re-posting it to a fake account so that I can get them via IM) so that they can be near-real-time when I have time, and are still there for me if I don’t.

4 Responses


Why do you ‘hate’ the comment on status (which is not just restricted to statuses btw)? It provides a much better context to the conversation which before had to be established when sending a message or a wall post.

Speaking of scraping and piping. Apply for a developer’s removal of rate limiting. You won’t need to scrape then, and can directly work off the API. Much cleaner 🙂

[P.S. You might want to uncheck the ‘Get replies via e-mail’ box by default]

Stephen Paul Weber

I dislike comment on status, etc, because it does not have the nice notification properties, etc, that I list as to why I prefer microbloging.

There is no rate limiting on the Twitter search API. I’m just consuming a search feed with, which supports posting to


I personally like the real time notification that pop-up at the bottom right (the bar akin to the Windows taskbar). Of course, you can make it real-time by letting FB mail you, but that gets annoying very quickly.

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