Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mobile - micro-blogging

Mobile devices stoke 'micro-blogging' fervor

Mobile Internet devices and online communities are merging to a new kind of web diary: "micro-blogging," where people fire off terse missives about what they are doing or thinking at any given moment.

The postings are bare-bones, on-the-go versions of online journals in which people share their lives and dreams -- hence the name micro-blogging.

"Blogging has evolved and become more formalized," said Yahoo Design Pattern Library curator Christian Crumlish, author of social networking book "The Tower of Many."

"A beautiful blog entry is an art form, and it takes time. So, micro-blogging fits into your life where you take a minute or two to see what's going on and go back to work."

Hot website Twitter has attracted a large following since launching slightly more than two years ago as a way to share Haiku-like text message updates with unlimited numbers of friends instantly via mobile telephones.

The service entices users with its signature line, "What are you doing?"

Startup Utterz, publicly unveiled last year, goes a step further by allowing users to post text, video, photos or audio from mobile telephones to the Internet with a simple call.

"What are the four things you can do with a mobile phone? You can talk, you can send text, you can take pictures and send video," Utterz president Randy Corke told AFP.

"We want to use the technology that you have in your pocket," he said.

"We want to make blogging as easy as talking ... Our users can literally take their mobile telephone out and capture the experience, and the emotion of their voice, and interview people."

Websites where people post blogs or share pictures or videos have become ubiquitous and firms like Twitter and Utterz are positioning themselves as places to merge and manage the images and words.

The power of these technologies was unexpectedly unleashed at a recent US tech conference, SXSW, when attendees micro-blogged searing critiques of an on-stage interview of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

"The woman interviewing Zuckerberg is lame," Utterz user Leora Zellman wrote beneath a live picture she snapped of the interviewer, BusinessWeek magazine's Sarah Lacey, on stage during the event.

"Never, ever have I seen such a train wreck of an interview," wrote Twitter user Jason Pontin. "Poor girl, flirtatiously awful though she was."

Lacey "Twittered" her own response.

"Seriously screw all you guys," she wrote. "I did my best to ask a range of things."

Enthusiasm for micro-blogging has prompted numerous blogging and social networking sites to focus attention on ease-of-use and accessibility in a world increasingly fond of mobile net devices.

Top social networking properties Facebook and MySpace offer mobile versions of their sites to increase user accessibility.

Facebook invited Twitter to customize applications for the online community when it opened its platform to outside developers early last year.

Video-sharing superstar YouTube tailors links for mobile telephones, including a special player built into Apple's iPhones, which combine video, music, Internet and mobile telephone capabilities.

Picture-sharing website Flickr, which added a video feature in April, encourages uploads from camera-equipped mobile telephones.

"New technologies are most accessible when they take something you need to do anyway and make it much easier and much more useful," Corke said.

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