“Hello World” and Twit-messaging

I began my post e-mail take 2: You get to e-mail; I don’t in discussing how to manage an open-source project:

What I find most interesting are the tools available now that either didn’t exist back then or weren’t widely used … or were widely used and I didn’t know about them:

  • Blogging software
  • wikis
  • content management systems (CMS’s)

I view this blog as part of the open-source-volunteers project, a project I am trying to run as an open-source project. Though e-mail remains the fundamental mode of communication amonst open-source developers, I find e-mail has its limitations. For example, back in June I read over 1500 e-mails posted to the humanitarian-ict mail list. [1] I found there was a wealth of information but it was scattered over many e-mails. I prepared what I call a “mail list sampler” of those messages and posted it to the ReliefSource wiki.

I think blogging offers an interesting alternative to e-mail in that all the posts are grouped by sender, and when you read someone’s blog you read not only their posts about the topic that drew you to the blog, but what they have to say about other topics.

So I undertook an experiment to see if I could build a community using only blogging, and not using e-mail. To do this I came up with what I call TWIT-Messaging-Protocol-V1 (TMP v1). A TMP message is a blog post in which the title has the form “sender HELLO receiver. The content can amplify on the message but is not required. To send a TMP v1 message is to post a blog entry in this form. You know it has been received when the receiver, or someone you now knows the receiver, posts a comment to that blog posting. For example, I have already sent and received one such message; see Dave Shields HELLO Steve O’Grady, and Steve’s comment therein. I also received another TMP v1 message when Steve’s colleague James Governor posted a comment to another of my posts asking if I would be willing to participate in a Redmonk podcast.

There was one TMP v1 message I planned to send, but have held off. I will post it shortly, a TMP v1 message to Tom Friedman. I realized that if I send such a message to Tom the ultimate reply would be for him to write a column for the New York Times that contained the text “Tom Friedman HELLO Dave Shields.”

And that got me to think about how I could send a TMP v1 message to Bill Clinton. I’m in the small group of people who have shared a stage with President Clinton AND with rms himself. But I realized it was impossible to expect that Bill would log into my blog. However, there was another way, and that takes us to TMP v2.

A TMP v2 message has one of the forms:



However, I realized TMP v1 had some limitations. It required that the receiver post a comment, and also allowed no way for someone else to vouch that a message had been received. And this suggested an additional kind of TMP v2 message, one that would someone to confirm that the receiver knew I had sent the message:


For example, one response to “twit-dave-shields-hello-steve-ogrady-tiwt” could be “twit-james-governor-confirms-twit-dave-shields-hello-steve-ogrady-tiwt.”

And if I know that someone knows about a message, say because I sent them e-mail, I can confirm it myself; for example,

But the real advantage of TMP v2 is that no blog comments need be posted. I can either look at the receiver’s blog for a confirmation, or I can use search engines to see if a message has been confirmed. For example, this provides a way for someone to acknowledge a TMP v2 message to Bill Clinton without his having to reveal his e-mail address.

I can search the web for the state of all my TMP v2 messages by a search on “twit-dave-shields-hello.”

One Comment

  1. Posted October 18, 2006 at 04:01 | Permalink | Reply

    twit-two oh – that’s what owls speak right…

    or is it FOAF?

    when are you coming on redmonk radio? we quite often record on friday mornings. but when would suit you?

One Trackback

  1. […] World.” See “Hello World” through the ages, “Hello World” and programming, “Hello World” and Twit-messaging, and Dave Shields HELLO Tom […]

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