I will admit that i am now addicted to Twitter. I need to be able to see what is going on. I see blog updates and shared links quicker on Twitter than anywhere else. So, I always have some twitter application open. Lately, I have been seeing more “automated” information appear in the guise of status updates. I am not talking about tools like TwitterFeed which grab your blog feed and send an update to twitter. I am talking about the new “integration” options that services are offering that will post all of your service updates to your twitter account. The three service integrations that I have seen lately are BrightKite, Mixx and Toluu. The integration is very similar for each of the services. Here is an example from the Toluu blog:
You can now connect with your Twitter account so every time you add a new feed to Toluu, via the site or the bookmarklet, your friends on Twitter can know what great taste in blogs you have.
I understand the point of the twitter integration. Twitter is hot, so let’s make sure we all have a solid plan for using twitter. I am more concerned that we have only seen the tip of this iceberg. There are only a few people that have enabled this kind of service integration. What if the service integration really starts getting used? Thankfully, most of these integration services are opt-in only. Most people seem to be leaving these services alone except to test out what they are doing. Imagine that MrBabyMan had twitter integration with Digg. How many stories does he submit and vote on in a given day? Do you really want to have this scenario?
The real issue with some of this integration is that it is forcing a “micro-blogging” platform to turn into a lifestreaming platform. The lifestreaming platforms like FriendFeed, Profilactic and SocialThing, already have this sort of integration. That is actually the point of the lifestreaming applications. This integration will also ensure that duplicates of your integrated service will show up in your lifestreaming application. Because there will be the normal service update and an identical twitter update, you are causing two separate streams to broadcast the same information. That does not sound like a good thing. This complicates matters considering people have already started complaining about noise and duplication on services like FriendFeed.
So, what do we do? Obviously, you can turn off the service integration but there are some very useful scenarios for the integration. There could be a standard structure for a tweet that is a service integration tweet. The problem with this is that you only have 140 characters for an update. Another option is to have the standard service updates in the lifestreaming applications be tagged with the twitter status. This is a very viable option and would require additional custom elements in an RSS feed or whatever format is used. Do you have any ideas on how to limit the duplication?