I've known Bill Gross since the 80s when he was working on a product for Lotus called Magellan. He's gone on to become a big man in tech, but a renegade, a guy who bucks the current. Someone who challenges assumptions.
So Bill is doing a service called chime.in that's competitive with Twitter.
I like that he's trying to attract people with interesting content to his service. That's the only way to boot one of these things up. Otherwise they become ghost towns. But Bill is a smart guy and wouldn't be launching and promoting if he didn't plan to iterate over this. His plan includes cultivation of people who are serious about creating a flow of interesting links.
He's doing what Twitter hasn't yet been able to do -- viewing the stream as a product. They're still thinking of the users as the product. But we're not all doing the same thing. That's the really big thing that's going on, just below the surface. That's what I spend my time thinking about.
I consider my linkblog feed a product. It's not a river, it's just a tributary. I look for ways to improve it, and to connect it up to other services. Google won't even let me play! Amazing. I don't want to be part of Facebook. And Twitter has enough of an API to let me bake my own connector.
1. My items don't have titles. They're for some reason displaying the description where they would place a title. If so, their system is too rigid. They must allow for items that don't have titles. Prior art is Twitter, where items don't have titles.
PS: Unrelated idea. Wikipedia could become the indentity system we're all looking for. I routinely link to people's Wikipedia pages when referencing them for the first time in a story. See the Bill Gross link above. If they had a metadata format, they could be a behind-the-scenes distributor of information about Bill Gross that could plug directly into web apps.