Twitter and the future of transmogrification

Technorati on Twitter

I proposed to Ma.gnolia a short while ago that they start using Twitter to broadcast their system status updates and they implemented it shortly thereafter.

The beauty of using Twitter is its flexibility — you can ping it using Jabber, the web, SMS or through its API. You can also receive updates through the same protocols, as well as via feed subscriptions. I call this “” — essentially the ability to morph data between forms and through various inputs.

It seems that others are picking up on the trend towards Twitterification — and I find it very interesting, especially as the differentiation between bot, aggregate and human is essentially nonexistent. Was it a service, a friend or one of many friends pinging you just then? One never knows!

So far I’ve found these non-individual, non-human Twitterers

Organizations & Companies


I’m sure there are more, but do you know of any more that I missed?

Author: Chris Messina

Head of West Coast Business Development at Republic. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Hashtag inventor. Previously: (YC W18), Uber, Google.

21 thoughts on “Twitter and the future of transmogrification”

  1. I love this idea and plan on implementing it into some of our projects in the future. Good one Chris, once again!

  2. i like the word transmogrified. I remember as a kid, back when being a paleontologist was still cool, having a cassette tape that told a story about dinosaurs and there was a song about transmogrification…in relation to dinosaurs turning into petroleum over time.

    I’ll have to find that.

    Oh wait, this is the internet:

    Pretty sure it’s track six, the title track.

    </pointless throwback to my childhood>

  3. I read somewhere, by the way, that the CNN feed I mentioned above is actually a private project. Great way to deliver news, though. Like RSS, but more flexible.

  4. We’ve had a great experience with Twitter as a way of letting people know what’s going on. For a long time we would second-guess blog posts about small fixes and updates, as they seemed too small and watered down the value of more substantial blog posts. Twitter solved that for us completely, and we now happily post about smaller events that are still important for our members.

    It goes the other direction, too. Every day since we launched our Twitter page, members add us as friends and we get to see what’s going on with them as well. When we look at the combined tweets from members, we get a different perspective on them and it opens our eyes to new possibilities that we can turn into a better experience back at Ma.gnolia.

    People say they don’t get Twitter, but I think they’re thinking too hard – it’s about keeping in touch.

  5. It’s funny, what you consider to be the beauty of Twitter, cross-platform accessibility, is what’s turning me off it.

    I really liked receiving interesting notes – exclusively on my phone – because it was a safe-zone mostly away from my professional life.

    I’ve found with the increase in Twitters I tend to read them less often and less closely. So if my ISP or webservice is down I’m much rather an email.

  6. I suppose I might be the odd one out here, but I actually tend to turn off notifications for all services — by default. It’s only when I *choose* to enable them that I let them distract me.

    As for Twitter — that I can *choose* IM, SMS, the web or the latest app to receive Twitters means I have even more control over when and where I receive them. I agree that the number of Twitterers has increased enormously, but it’s also kind of a nice white noise to know that people are out there in the world feeling compelled to share with friends and strangers what they’re up to any given moment.

    On the one hand it’s one more distraction to mitigate; on the other, as Todd says, it’s an entirely new way and medium to connect through.

  7. +1 Chris. It’s all about managing the input channels that we open up by engaging services like these. Everything is a request for our attention, and few are a real demand. Even the phone is just asking someone if you care to talk, and we’re really only required to do so when we want to. Taking that perspective to the web is something I wished I would do as well as I talk about it, but when I just shut off some channels I find it changes a lot of how I feel about that channel.

  8. I may be perverse, but I don’t quite get the twitterification thing. Whats the advantage or difference in getting my BBC news in Google reader via web or mobile, fully sync’d, versus Twitter?

  9. Not that you would, necessarily, but it’s nice to know you could. And for the BBC, I think you’re right — it’s not wholly necessary — unless you want updates on your mobile phone as news breaks…

    Lemme tell you, being on Twitter during an earthquake in San Francisco is fascinating.

  10. since sundance just started, it’s appropriate to list festmob… taking the web 1.75 txtmob idea to the 2.0 world of twitter. i think it works like the Macworld twitter — anyone can submit and it’s posted on behalf of festmob.

  11. Sounds like I should get DevjaVu on there. Transmogrification reminds me of a web service I want to build called Transmutify.

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