Today I was introduced to a new service called identi.ca, which claims to provide Twitter-like functionality, in a nice, Open Source interface. The service implements the OpenMicroBlogging protocol which, from their FAQs, states, “you can have friends on other microblogging services
that can receive your notices.” This means complete transparency and no reliance on any one service to trust your data with. I am unable to find any other services that have utilized this protocol, however.
The service seems to maintain an open atmosphere across the board. They publish all the details of the code identi.ca is based on, stating they run on the Open Source microblogging platform, Laconica. They state that “soon” they plan to implement SMS updates and notifications, a Twitter-compatible API, Maps, Cross-posting to Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, etc., Facebook integration, Hashtags, Image, video, audio notices, and even a multilingual interface. Relying on the open source community, on an open standards-based platform may just put them in direct competition with Twitter very soon.
All of your updates posted to the service are under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license and you have to agree to this when you sign up. They seem to remain open across the board – and this will make them successful. I have talked previously about how the mistake Twitter is making is that they are not open enough – they are not basing their protocols on open standards and open techniques of web development. It is showing now, as they are stuck fixing their own problems as the world watches. With a service like this, were it to go down, ideally other services would also sync data and you would not be without service when one service goes down. This is powerful!
The founder of identi.ca is ironically named Evan – they seem to be going head-to-head with Twitter in an Open platform. Based on my experience with open standards in the past, I can already tell which one has the strongest potential. They state to have 1,000 users already and are growing very fast (in Evan’s words). I look forward to seeing them grow, and hopefully contributing as I can – will you join me? You can find me at http://identi.ca/jessestay.