18 March 2011
Although I’ve apparently had an identi.ca account since ‘08, I had only posted one notice there until this week. Although identi.ca is arguably a Twitter clone, it has its own unique bits too.
The one feature which I think really sets it apart is groups. These are what I think Twitter Lists should have been. Basically someone can create a group which has a unique “nickname” similar to a user’s nickname. Groups can be addressed in a notice using the
!<groupname> syntax. For example: “I just read a great article about !html5.”
Unlike hashtags, groups aren’t just for searching. If I join a group, notices addressed to the group show up in my feed directly. This is awesome. I can now subscribe to a topic (group) instead of having to subscribe to a person. In Twitter land I have to sort through a lot of crap people post because there’s a chance that they may also post something worthwhile. I follow people who say things interesting on occasion. On identi.ca I can focus more on content rather than all the other random crap. For example, I installed tmux and wanted to learn more about it. A quick subscription and look at the tmux group got me some great places to start.
Obviously I still want to subscribe to people who I know and want updates from all the time. But now I can keep my unfiltered individual subscriptions to a minimum and subscribe to groups which will give me more targeted and interesting information.
Identi.ca is what Twitter was a few years ago. Unpolished, raw, and small. The nice part about all these is that there can still be evolution. The other pluses? Open source and federated. I think there’s a huge amount of room for this to be better than Twitter. Larger? Probably not. More useful and a better community? Possibly.
At the moment identi.ca is mostly used by geeks. There’s no marketing noise. It’s nice. The content is generally good since it hasn’t been overrun by the unwashed masses.
I don’t think we’ll see identi.ca itself gain critical mass — but I think we might see StatusNet (the software running identi.ca) servers pop up for different communities. Because of the federated nature there’s the possibility to connect between people in the different communities, too. Maybe we’ll see better organization and compartmentalization of micro-blogging instead of the cluster-fuck that is Twitter right now.
The only thing Twitter is good for is announcing to the world when I’m taking a shit. And no one would even notice.
You can find me on identi.ca here: http://identi.ca/angelo.