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Twitter Alternatives?

by Jeremy L. Gaddis on November 27, 2008 · 2 comments

in Off-topic

I’m real tempted to ditch Twitter.

I interact with Twitter in three ways:

  • through their web site
  • through SMS
  • through ping.fm

Most of my interaction with Twitter is through SMS. Nearly all of the updates that I receive from Twitter are via SMS. I “follow” a number of people (74, as I write this) but receive updates via SMS for perhaps only a third of those. I started out having everyone’s updates sent to me via SMS, but some people either 1) post way too frequently and end up annoying the shit out of me or 2) just don’t say enough interesting things (e.g., the “signal-to-noise” ratio is way outta control).

Most (but not all) of my updates are done through ping.fm. My BlackBerry has an AIM client and that’s how I communicate with ping.fm. I send updates to “pingfm” on AIM and those are broadcasted out to Facebook, Pownce (which I hardly ever use), and Twitter. This is nice because I can update Twitter and Facebook at the same time. Because I don’t want every update going to Facebook (e.g. “@ replies”), I usually send those back to Twitter as an SMS.

Last, if I’m at home and on the computer I usually keep Twitter open in a tab and occasionally refresh it, just to keep up on everyone that I don’t receive SMS updates for.

When I first signed up for Twitter, my primary method of interacting with it was via IM. The “track” feature was awesome and allowed me to find others who had similar interests as mine. Once the shit hit the fan with regard to IM (in other words, when it became massively unreliable), they pulled support for it. Suckage.

Then, several months ago, the Twitter service as a whole became extremely unreliable for a good period. A number of folks jumped ship then. I almost did, but I stuck around.

Today, I read on the Twitter blog that they pulled support for receiving SMS updates in Canada (due to rising costs). Since Twitter has no apparent business model (and, it seems, isn’t generating any revenue), it makes sense to assume that eventually the cash supply will be running low. At some point, they’ll pull support for SMS updates in the U.S. as well, at which time I’ll really have no use for the service anymore.

Maybe I should just get out now.

Are there any viable alternatives? It’d be nice to be able to send and receive updates via SMS. I’d be content with receiving updates via SMS and sending updates through another method (e.g. ping.fm, web only, etc.). What are my choices?

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