Twitter Parody That Might Work: Just Five Words Or Less
One of the last posts I made before redesigning my blog to be better and easier to navigate was "7 Reasons I Hate Twitter, Despite Kind of Liking It". At the time, I had used Twitter for about a month or so, it was in the middle of the beginning of its explosion, and it's problems were starting to be worn out in the open. I chastised it for a few things: security, trying to make a protocol into a single server program, trending topics being posted like they were, short-form URLs being used by SPAMmers, failure to enforce it's API, and so forth. I later added, in a different spot, a complaint that an "@reply" could be used to SPAM someone's account even if they are not following you. This was found out by SPAMmers about thirty-five seconds after I discussed the possibility and now I get about three-four "@spams" a day. Twitter can still be a good way to have fun with friends and to do a number of things, but it has, much like Myspace during its explosion and Facebook is starting to become, reached a point where earnest users have to fight with the breaks in the system while trying to avoid contribution to those breaks.
I sat down one day and thought about the social progression from Website to Blog to Social Network to Microblog and realized that the next step must be the Nanoblog. Inspired by the common memecatcher where you are forced to use only three-to-five words to describe something, mostly so that you cannot be overly verbose and partially because the limitation helps to really mean those five words; I thought about a site called "JUST FIVE WORDS" which was like Twitter, except instead of a 140 character limit, you have a five word limit (whether or not this is greater than 140 character limit). I chuckled to myself in a manner of elite superiority, but then began to see a certain, I don't know, possibility in the concept.
Let's say you make a website just5wordsorLess.com and you set it up similarly to Twitter where you log on and have a feed for friends and you can make your own update. The update process is a little more complicated though, because it is heavily inspired by Magnetic Poetry (possibly a trademarked phrase?). Every time you go to update, it gives a list of, say, 20 common words (conjunctions, articles, basic verbs and pronouns) and a list of, say, 180 less common words mixed together. You pick whichever 5 words you want out of that pile and drag them into your status field to make your update. Every word has the option for clicking on an edit tab and selecting alternate tenses, pluralization, and word types. For instance, "beauty" might have "beautify", "beautifies", "beautiful", "beautifully", "beautifuls", "beauties", and et cetera; so that those 200 words are actually like 2000 words. What's more, the words would be linked to a definition "type" as a number so they could be auto-translated into whatever language the current viewer is using: so that if you choose "beauty" then a French user would see the French equivalent and the Japanese user would see the Japanese equivalent, etc. Words that are more popular would trend, maybe, by shifting from blue to purple to increasingly red. Everytime you go to the status update page, you will get a slightly different set of 180 words with maybe the top 50 or so guaranteed and then others based on some algorithm. Possibility of a "wild card" or two being mixed in, so people can input their own word, but this might be a random thing (people who have been members longer could also receive more wildcards).
Replies would be possible, but you would only get, say, two replies per day not sent to mutual friends. Overall, I am thinking that you cannot post more than twice in three hours, and no more than four times all day long. No reason to make this just to have someone used it fifty times to make a longer post. Replies to mutual friends might be unlimited, but they would only be seen by those mutual friends. No links would be involved. Possibly on the profile page so people can link to other sites, but if so, then no tinyurl style stuff.
The end result would be an odd little experiment, sort of a poetic sharing of things. Most statuses would only make sense if you know a person, though I'm sure that a good half would be attempts at cleverness or coyness. I do not think it would ever take off like Twitter, but a handful of people might enjoy it.
Let me think more about the backend and I will get back to you.
Si Vales, Valeo