IF YOU DABBLE in technology, you probably have an opinion about Twitter (Disclosure: I'm twitter.com/topgold) and if you listen to Irish daytime radio, you probably don't like to associate yourself with anything that earns gushes from talk show hosts like Ray D'Arcy. But you don't have to like Twitter to appreciate the first evidence of keyboard squatting. That's when someone claims the syntax for a set of computer operations. We're toying with an SMS gateway operation now in Tipperary Institute, hoping to address extensions to the Twitter API. Our mucking around should allow applications to receive private messages from users. More specifically, our hope is to foster an Irish playground with an Irish phone text number that posts messages, lists friends' texts, query for public items and extend services into socially acceptable activities like shagtag. With the current Irish structure of premium text numbers, this kind of service could make money from the moment it is launched.
David Troy has coded an API that permits a lot of service-side functionality. Dave Winer has covered the entire API with the OPML editor. You can code services that accept queries from queries from friends and responds according to coded behaviours. I see these things now (Irish weather, Mashable announcements, MP3 download locations) but these items are open for all to see. What if I want to cultivate a circle of friends who subscribe to premium channels of information? That way, I could name the exact location for free entry to gigs and pass along code names that open side doors to venues or result in shops handing over product as though the customer had a physical voucher. This kind of functionality has all sorts of tribal affinity potential. You could supplement a promotion campaign with easy texting--and the cool thing is that the Irish audience respects text already. There is no learning curve or hesitancy for uptake.
So how about these functions:
for special details on music downloads: d mp3 U2
for traffic updates:
for direct contact:
for flight info:
for cheap fuel:
Brian Greene has many more advantages. Bolt past experience onto Twitter's generic communications platform, add some social networking, carry it in your textable pocket, add a little instant messaging capability along with a website and you have a truly read/write pocket platform.
Ireland has just barely awakened to Twitter but the text-happy Irish nation is a ripe consumer target. The early adopters have handed over email, phone, and social media handles for mashup and connectivity. The potential revenue stream is already at the door.
But, the potential squatters are already on the keyboards. Take the user name AA and there goes the direct channel to AA Roadwatch data. Decide on a screen name of MP3 and you own the music channel. If you're an opportunist, now's the time to squat on a term. If domain squatting floats your boat, then keyboard squatting is right up your street. All you need to do is register a term against mobile phone number and you're off. As in all other squatting exercises, brands will pay for your squatting rights via eBay auctions or direct contact.
If this line of thought offends you, just thumb through the Golden Pages and look at the listings of trademark attorneys. Twitter is just finding its feet in the mainstream. Keyboard squatters are part of that mainstream.
Nik Cubrilovic -- "Twitter as a communications platform"
Steve Poland -- "Web Services Coming to Twitter"
Dave Winer -- "The Twitter API Grows"
Richard Waters -- "Mini-blog is the Talk of Silicon Valley" in The Financial Times.
Alex Clover -- "SMS: A Sleeping Giant with YouTube Potential?"
Tamar Weinberg -- "Can Twitter Serve as a Highly-Targeted Marketing Tool?"
Charlie O'Donnell -- "Twitter the OS and TwitterSquatting"