Mobile phone to PC Interfacing – Twitter
During the recent SxSW conference held in Austin, a new phone to web networking tool gained some notice. It’s called Twitter. It combines blogging (albeit in short form), text messaging, with social networking. Basically, it allows one to send a text message from a phone to a web-site which can provide your location and what you’re doing. I could see this as a solution to the “where are you and what are you doing right now problem?” that I face at NI Week. People who are interested in keeping up with you can add your link to their page. It certainly worked at SxSW where two large screens displayed the flow of messages at the Austin Convention Center.
Twitter was developed by Obvious Corp which created Odeo (podcasting tools) and brings the same minimalist style first used by Google. The sparse interface quickly focuses your attention on what the software does.
One gauge of an emerging technology is the variations people make from the technology. There appears to be a robust collection of mashups based on the Twitter concept. One of them is Twittervision.com which shows a map of the world and then displays in a constant feed, the comments of twitter users. While the current user based of early adopters gives a random smattering of data points, a cohesive group of users (i.e. sales/marketing/R&D of a particular) product could see a more cogent picture of what the organization is doing.
If you want to see what Twitter activity is going on in your neighborhood, try Twittermaps. To change the location type in “L:” followed by your city, street, etc.
While Twitter is another step in the social networking movement, I can see applications in Virtual Instrumentation. Instead of pushing your location and activity to a web-site, one could push measurements to the same web-site. One could implement a mobile data collection system connected to cell phones which gather data and then send the results to a map for one to monitor. It’s just a thought.