~ 3 min read

Stephen Fry and the Ascent of "Micro Blogging"

Twitter is all over the news at the moment. For the uninitiated, it allows you to list short updates of what you are doing at any time. BBC News seemed to have an all-out assault at the end of January raving about it at every opportunity – the first moments of the Hudson plane landing, an short chat about it by Stephen Fry on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and this short clip on iPlayer by Stephen Fry again. For Stephen Fry, this has meant an insane amount of new followers, indicated by the stats by twittercounter, which are shown below.

Stephenfry's Twittercounter

Notice the stats for 27th January – a full 20,978 extra followers in a single day! My own profile has a paltry 38 in comparison for all time!, which is about 30 more friends than I actually have offline…

I guess this huge upsurge is in part due to the fact that Stephen is such a well known comedian in the UK and by no means a stranger to the web. Just yesterday Jason Kottke observed his day as deciding “to start his own reality chat show after becoming stuck in an elevator”. He also has an awesome blog and podcast. He also is a very open advocate of open source and free software. How on earth he finds the time to live both his life virtually and as television celebrity I do not know. But I like the cut of his jib.

It seems micro-blogging is truly being picked up by the masses. I really enjoy it, but ideally I’d love to be using a decentralised open source service, hosted on my own personal webspace. I’d like to suggest the Open Micro Blogging service, laconi.ca as the way forward – but then I also want to be able to reply to my friends on twitter and them to me and I don’t think true two way cross network chat will happen for a while. I see wordpress to blogger as laconi.ca is to twitter. I’m actually surprised that there doesn’t seem to be a concerted effort from any one of the current big blog companies right now to push for a more open alternative. The automatticians have put out prologue but it doesn’t seem to have been touched for over a year and only supports sharing amongst groups (as in a working environment)…that’s no fun for the rest of us.

Bring on a true open web status service, (complete with adopters) where I can update any one of my friends on my activities by them following a status feed on my homepage and vice versa. This requires clients who make use of such services though and right now twitter is stronger in that regard.