Moacir P. de Sá Pereira on December 17th, 2008
Twitter's Fail Whale

Twitter's Fail Whale.

I’m pretty excited about announcing two new functionalities to this website that will hopefully allow users to interact with it more usefully: Twitter and Facebook Connect.

Twitter is a micro-blogging service that allows a poster to send out short (< 150 letters) messages. It’s kind of like updating a Facebook status, and many people use it to communicate with people who follow them or to push forward links to interesting things. Then some people use it (like their Facebook status) just to complain about traffic or something.

Lithchat’s twitter feed is very basic: whenever a new article gets posted to this site, a tweet will announce it (example). More frequently, whenever a link (usually to a news article) is added to the Lithchat feed, the headline and link to the article will appear in a tweet (example). Finally, occasionally, there will be value in retweeting something someone else tweeted. Those will, then, also appear in a tweet (example). As a result of these parameters, the Lithchat twitter feed is always interactive–there are always links involved. There will never be complaints about long lines or snowy streets.

Following Lithchat on Twitter is certainly not enough of a reason to join Twitter if you have not already, but it is obviously a great way to get plugged into lots of information quickly, in bite-sized chunks. I initially thought micro-blogging was stupid, but I have since come around, once I saw how useful Facebook statuses could be. That leads me to the second addition…

Facebook Connect in action with digg.

Facebook Connect in action with digg.

Facebook Connect is a system by which people can (safely) use their Facebook selves to do things as themselves on other websites. The list of sites that supports it is growing quickly, and you may have already seen the “Connect with Facebook” blue button on some of them. What Facebook Connect means for Lithchat is that people can use their Facebook accounts to comment on posts here. Those comments will then also (optionally) show up in the newsfeed of the users on Facebook. It sounds complicated, but we’ll all get used to seeing stories on Facebook that related to Facebook Connect soon enough.

The principle incentive to these two moves is to continue to make Facebook more and more accessible to whoever takes an interest in it. With Twitter, Lithchat updates are pushed to whoever follows the feed. With Facebook, pushing back (in the form of comments, etc.) is even easier than before.

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