MicroThoughts on MicroBlogging

I signed up for a Twitter account over a year ago and it can be found at www.twitter.com/rtehrani. The question is do I need to Twitter at all when I have a blog? It seems in fact I haven’t used twitter in over a year. At the last ITEXPO, I spoke with many people ho have blogs and separate Twitter accounts where they post microthoughts.

When I mentioned I have an email to blog solution, most people I spoke with said I really don’t need to Twitter at all. Is this the case I wonder? After all, the people who subscribe to Twitter want to be proactively reminded when I send tweets. I guess they could just subcribe to my blog feed. Well, to be sure, I just asked my subscribers — of which I have many considering I don’t use the service, if I need to use Twitter when I already blog.

At ITEXPO, I should mention that TMC management uses walkie-talkies to communicate but often these devices are turned down when someone is in a meeting or conference. In addition, the exhibit hall is generally too loud to allow anyone to hear these radios.

So we turned to microblogging (well kind of anyway) for our expo communications and in particular a service called 3jam which allows you to communicate with groups using SMS. For example, once I set up users — let’s say Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie I could just text to the 3JAM number or 43526 with what you want to do. For example to text Brad I could just enter “text Brad” or “t bp” for short (bp = the initials for Brad Pitt). I could also text them both with the command “t aj bp.” When finished with determining who will get the message, you then you type a period “.” a space and the message.

So you could SMS something like this “t aj bp. It was great seeing you guys for dinner last night. See you again real soon — The Smiths.”

The real power of the service is in group communications. You set up a group and then send a test message. Once you do this, you can all respond to the message and have everyone else in the group get it. You can also respond to individuals and once you learn the commands, 3JAM is a powerful tool — allowing the power of email to come to text messaging/IM. Notice I said IM or instandt messaging… You can also choose to communicate with others via a web interface if you like.

Although I didn’t test this function, you can also have 3jam poll twitter and send you messages to various countries for a nickel a message.

What might make the service better is the integration of email accounts so you can have truly universal group communications.

In all, microblogging is powerful and I think microcommunicating with services such as 3jam are even more powerful for groups whose productivity depends on instant communications — especially where walkie-talkie services which use voice are not an option.

  • Atul Tatke
    November 19, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experience with microblogging in expo/conference setup. I am really glad to know that you found the usage of group communications using SMS very useful. I am curious about your thoughts on usage of similar method for Q&A sessions and feedbacks in conferences and expo. I wanted to get your opinion as you are an industry expert and also a user of the technology.
    I am a co-founder of Boston based company Hummingbytes (www.hummingbytes.com). We have created a communication gateway platform with which one can create voice and mobile applications.
    We have created above mentioned solution for one of the conferences here in Boston. People could send their questions using SMS which went to moderator’s screen. A lot of saving in time and less logistical effort. We have productize the solution and wanted to get your opinion on the idea.
    Note: News article of the solution
    http://www.tie.org/TGS/NM/newsview/viewNewsPT?id_news=344
    Thank you.
    Atul Tatke
    Hummingbytes Inc.
    http://www.hummingbytes.com

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