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Reading lists for Twitter?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 by Dave Winer.

I'd like to be able to subscribe to bundles of users. Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named chicken.gifUse-case #1. Suppose I'm going to a conference, like Gnomedex last week. For the duration of the conference I'd like to be subscribed to every person at the conference. This would form the complete back-channel. I would hear what everyone was saying during the conference. But maybe that would be too much when I got home, if so, I could just wholesale unsub from the lot.  Permalink to this paragraph

Use-case #2. Say I'd like to see what it's like to be someone famous for a day or two. So I would say "Subscribe me to all of Steve Jobs's friends." Then I'd see what Larry Ellison, Al Gore and Bill Campbell were doing. Then when I wanted to see the world through someone else's eyes, I'd unsub from Steve's friends and sub to all their friends. Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named asshole2.gifUse-case #3. Think of "mutual funds" of people, reading lists managed by experts. So I could subscribe to a list of Macintosh experts as we're approaching an Apple product announcement. Or people in Peru after the earthquake there. Or a U.S. news list that would automatically recalc according to the judgement of an expert when the news shifted from topic to topic. As we approach the New Hampshire primary, news of that state would be heavily represented. After that's over, we'd move to news of South Carolina.  Permalink to this paragraph

Obviously this feature would work for any news-oriented social network. Originally I proposed it for RSS, they were called "reading lists," but I couldn't get the community of reader developers to implement the feature. I did implement reading lists for the NewsRiver aggregator that's built into the OPML Editor. Maybe the time is right, in the developing social networks, which are very much like the world of RSS. Permalink to this paragraph

Any thoughts are welcome. Post a comment here.  Permalink to this paragraph

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