Micro-Blogging et al... Are they Really There Yet?

I've been a fan of those "bloggers on speed" of the likes of Jaiku, Twitter, etc for a while but I am not entirely happy with the interfaces yet: the services live of proximity and timeliness in that is then that they unfold their true power. Otherwise, the old-fashioned web accessed from an old-fashioned computer with 10x more bandwidth and a proper keyboard might actually be superior. Mobile blogging however is relatively clunky so far. There are a few guys out there who offer mobile little J2ME apps, (mobile) browser plug-ins, widgets, you name it (see for some solutions here) but, let's face it, they're not really as slick and seamless as they could (and should?!) be. Tellingly therefore, both Twitter and (now Google-owned) Jaiku use SMS as the prevailing interface to communicate with the world through their networks via your mobile phone. Is that really it? Look at the Facebook Blackberry app: so slick in comparison!

UI, accessability and discovery are the key drivers for mass user adoption - and this what all social media lives of (apart, perhaps of the institution of marriage, which seemingly works best in micro-communities of 2), so why do they not tackle this bit more aggressively? The answer might be that, whilst they realize that mobile is a major contributor to their value-add when compared to other web apps, they are not actually mobile companies; they are web companies.

The idea of utilising the power of web 2.0 and its wealth of widgets and applets contributed by a gazillion of independent developers and fan boys might all be very well but it slows adoption: Facebook apps only became successful after Facebook itself was such a huge community, they did not drive that growth (although they now arguably contribute significantly). Therefore, it would seem to me, it would be required that the originators/owners of those networks contribute more energy and resource into optimizing the user interfaces to use the actual service before falling back on third-party add-ons. Alas, it is impossible to find a Google widget (for iGoogle or Google Desktop) even for Jaiku, which Google acquired. Tellingly, the only available widget was produced by fans... There's quite a bit to be done, I think...


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