Thank you for visiting Phweet, checking out Phweet or being one of our early supporters. It’s served it purpose. It was a great test bed, proof of concept and ahead of its time. A few others have tried adding voice to Twitter none have yet worked and we believe we know why and even how to address. Yet my purpose is not to address those ideas today. Some of our thinking carries on in other projects and consultancy assignments we handle today.
Why shut it now? David and I kept it going as a live demo and as a conversation and discussion point. However Twitter is closing in on the day when using Twitter oAuth is mandatory. It wasn’t available when Phweet was designed and created. I wish it was. Still today in it’s current form it isn’t worth upgrading the coding.
A Few Observations:
Friction: Twitter is not a “friction” free environment and continues to have many points of failure. One form of friction relates to escalating conversations on and around Tweets. There’s a constant follow me follow you issue, send me your email, what’s your phone number? Every escalation that adds real value currently takes place off or outside Twitter. Phweet was one of the first services to try and solve this. Allowing easy escalation to voice calls without further exchange of personal information.
Second type of friction is in the flow. Twitter’s fail whale happens. That can mess up whether or not messages are even delivered by Twitter. More importantly while the flow is massive the medium still remains fairly asynchronous. There are no guarantees that the respondent will get the message or a notification in real-time. More advanced users may (eg using a Twitter App on mobile). Thus “signaling” with Twitter needs careful thought.
Twitter’s Future: Twitter’s future remains bright. Their approach to developers still encouraging. Twitter hasn’t killed the innovation engine around it. The first law of developing for/with Twitter remains. It’s simply “love Twitter”. I still do. David does too, or we wouldn’t spend time developing and learning from other Twitter Apps. We’d like to apply that expertise in “more”, “broader”, strategic and relationship driven opportunities. We’re busy with both social and communications related projects currently. Contact one of us.
Twitter @anywhere and geo-location will in time make Phweet like services even more relevant. The ready escalation on location to richer dialogues whether with a restaurant or a hot date will drive the need to have conversations that stretch quickly beyond 140 characters. In fact that’s often the case with Twitter. The answer to a tweet needs more than 140 characters.
Twitter Firehose: The firehose (total access to tweets as they happen) changes many opportunities for how developers harness Twitter. Many simple social media monitoring programs are moving here. Although that’s commodity turf IMHO. The firehose has many advantages for “communications” particularly in the corporate sense and in terms of call centers. We’ve now implemented “watchlist” solutions.
I couldn’t write this post without looking at a few previous posts. In fact the last one on the blog sums up many learnings captured with Phweet. I see it also keeps quiet and I’m secretly pleased to see we’ve really progressed in the last year. That’s really what Phweet was about, making progress, taking a step forward, accelerating the future. No we didn’t knock off Skype.
If I have a frustration it is simply that “great” no “outstanding” work never found a sponsor. Strategically, Phweet was the most revolutionary approach to changing the way we make calls in 100 years. “context before call”, “no numbers / your choice of profileID / public records streamed / personal exchanges etc.
There’s no way to predict what solutions might have been. However, here’s a few predictions of how we could still make a difference.
1. Context before Call – Twitter is making more and more inroads with Customer Service. All have a problem escalating and handling the resolution. Adding the Twitter stream to the Call Center is going to be a winner. A talk request for customer service rather than the queue.
2. Identity Services. Location based services must separate and enable us to use the ID of our choice. Whether that’s a directory service like Facebook, or Twitter or Linked In. Or perhaps something else. We require more sophisticated CallerID’s. We want more transparency with our companies. The integration with social media and call centers is now an imperative.
3. Phone Numbers: This is old school. It’s almost tragic watching GoogleVoice and Ribbit and recently Line2 say yet another number usually on your mobile is the solution. The world is context first and escalate if required. Using multiple lines is a failure case where there is no other management or separation solution (eg personal vs family).
4. Voice is a Commodity – The argument is voice is just part of the web of exchanges. It’s cheap and anyone can add it to any webpage or enable it almost anywhere. We’re not quite there yet.