akamike (2007-2010)

Micro-blogging - Comparison of Services

Micro-blogging is a great way to keep people up to date on what you are doing or just share neat stuff you find without the weight of a full blown blog. Great for those quick mini-rants, announcements and questions you want to share with the world, or even a select few. Ever since I got into Pownce, I have found micro-blogging to be an excellent addition to your social life on the web. But, which is the best for you? I checked out three big players in this area, as well as three smaller competitors and weighed up the features.

Table of Contents

Due to the length of this post, I have put together a table of contents.
  1. What is Micro-blogging?
  2. Pownce
  3. Twitter
  4. Jaiku
  5. PlayTalk
  6. Blabto
  7. Meemi
  8. Standard Feature Comparison Table
  9. Services That Integrate Them All
  10. Alternatives
  11. "What Should I Use?"
  12. Mike's Pick
  13. BONUS: Invites Up For Grabs

What is Micro-blogging?

Micro-blogging is a simple way to share whatever you want! Unlike "full" blogging, which can suggest some sort of journal/diary or article length posting, micro-blogging is for those who want to send our small messages to selected people (Some called "followers"). Micro-blogging often incorporates services that can fit in with a daily life style, such as SMS (for users on the go), instant messaging or even e-mail.

Oh, and a heads-up: It's a faux pas to post what you are eating. ;)

Pownce

Pownce Logo I have already reviewed Pownce, back when it was first launched. Pownce is a micro-blogging service from Kevin Rose, Leah Culver and Daniel Burka that allows you to share files, links, events and standard messages. If you need a service that's more like a micro-forum, that is steadily growing, go for Pownce.

Pros

 

Cons

Mike on Pownce

Twitter

Twitter Logo Twitter is one of the original micro-blogging services. It was, and still is, HUGE. An easy way to let everyone who cared know what you were doing, what your thoughts were, or anything you wanted to share. With a huge following, several big name users and even an apperance on TV, if you want a highly populated service, Twitter is the one for you.

Pros

Cons

Mike on Twitter

Jaiku

Jaiku Logo Jaiku is Twitter's main competitor. Hailing from Finland and "recently" aqquired by Google, Jaiku offers a pretty micro-blogging service that's fast loading, easy to use and support for "channels". But, you're gonna have to get an invite if Jaiku is your pick, Google's locked it down for now!

Pros

Cons

Mike on Jaiku

PlayTalk

PlayTalk Logo PlayTalk, self-defined as a "Social OS based microblog", comes from Korea. Majorly made up of Korean users, PlayTalk goes beyond "what are you doing" and adds more social networking features to microblogging. If you need something extra on top of your updates, check it out.

Pros

Cons

Mike on PlayTalk

Blabto

Blabto Logo Blabto is a UK based micro-blogging service that, while not quite as flashy as the others, shows promise. Very low population right now, but it is constantly adding functionality. Could it bring something new to the table? Sign-up for this British underdog today!

Pros

Cons

Mike on Blabto

Meemi

Meemi Logo Meemi, "all noise around you", is a small service from Italy that has much potential. With a simple interface, advanced message options and a friendly community, Meemi can go far. Head on over and sign up if you need the ease of Twitter and the functionality of Pownce, it's not a decision you will regret.

Pros

Cons

Special Mention

I did not find out about this site before posting, but another service that looks good is BeeMood. BeeMood offers updates that are based around how you feel, with maps, mobile and online services. Colours are used effectively in BeeMood to further show your mood, whether you are happy or sad! It's new but already has a lot to offer, so pop on over and sign-up!

Standard Feature Comparison Table

I've quickly put together a table to show which services offer which features that you would expect from them.
Service/Feature SMS Full API Easy to Use Custom Profile Design Recipient Options Advanced Message Features
Pownce No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Twitter Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Jaiku Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
PlayTalk No No No No Yes No
Blabto No No Yes Yes No No
Meemi No No Yes Yes No Yes

Services That Integrate Them All

This begs the question: Is it really necessary to be everywhere? Shouldn't you pick what suits you best and stick with it? It's not as simple as that for some people, their friends might not be able to agree with a chosen service or you may want to increase the reach of your message to as many people as possible (Hey, as long as you aren't spamming or just posting "I had fish for dinner" all the time then that's fine by me!).

One service I have come across is TwitKu(2), a web app that integrates message posting to Twitter and Jaiku, with viewing of messages from the two AND Pownce. As the Pownce API matures, I expect to see posting to all three. The only problem is that you don't have all the features from each, such as Jaiku's icons, but if you just need an easy way to update both your profiles, TwitKu is the site for you.

I also stumbled across an article from FranticIndustries about How To Post to Pownce, Twitter and Jaiku (and Tumblr, see below) at the same time. You can replace Pownce with Blabto or Meemi, or even your own RSS feed should you have a home-grown option. I should point out again that Jaiku's RSS updating is a bit slow, so updates won't be instant on that end.

Alternatives

You don't just have these services to sign up for, there are others out there. There is also a range of alternative options for keeping people up-to-date with your status, sharing stuff and just keeping track of hot buzz such as a tumblelog, a form of blogging where you can quickly and easily share stuff. A popular platform is Tumblr, which quickly has you "simple blogging" and recently had a massive update. Perfect, if you need something a bit more advanced.

A number of social networks have taken to "status updates", a way to notify all your friends of your status. While this isn't as advanced as the services above, it is suitable for those who want an integrated solution for simple updates. Of course, with the Facebook Platform and Google's Open Social, bringing external services may be better.

What should you use?

Honestly, it's up to you! I've listed all the pros and cons so you can decide what suits your situation. Need something big but simple? Twitter. Need advanced message options? Pownce. Fan of Google or (Finnish Metal)? Jaiku. Like supporting the underdog, so you can be there when they make it big? Blabto, PlayTalk or Meemi. Choose what's best for you, and bring your friends on board.

Mike's Pick

Personally, I have found myself attached to Jaiku, which is currently my choice of platform. However, I would like to see a service that integrates them all, from one simple interface but with the extended functionality of each. The big issue is SMS updates, there's no way to post to them all that way, plus Jaiku and Twitter are currently the only ones offering this service. I suppose I could use multiple recipients, but that can get costly.

Right now, I am using TwitKu to post to both Twitter and Jaiku, and if something major happens I update all the others manually.

BONUS: Invites Up For Grabs

In the case of Jaiku and Pownce, you need an invite to join. Pownce invites are easy to find now, but they are still being given away and Jaiku invites will be available as I get them. The requirements are:

It would be nice if you could return to this post, if you find yourself with spare invites, and share them with those who arrived here too late. Robert Connor has been leading the way in my previous Jaiku post by inviting those who missed their chance. A big thank you to him for being so kind, I hope more people follow in his example :)

Of course, if neither Jaiku or Pownce are your thing but you have chosen to sign up to one of the others, then feel free to add me. All my profile links are found in each site's section, though it's safe to assume that my username is akamike on all of them.
 
Well, that's it! It would be nice if you could subscribe too, I'm sure there will be more posts you will be interested in reading/discussing in future. Happy commenting!

Invite Count

Jaiku: 0 invites left :( Pownce: 28 invites left.

17 Comments

capobecchino

well! your "Comparison of Services" is very good and now for this the boss give you any features ... API and templating is work in progress :)

Mike

One of each? Got it. And thanks for the Digg, much appreciated :)

Iaman

Hrm... Interesting. I've been on something of a microblogging craze lately, signing myself up for various services and such... I've wanted to try out Jaiku for a little bit but I need an invite :|

I definitely agree with your sentiments on Pownce. With time, I think things should get much, much better, and I certainly hope that they will improve upon the API so that I can do even more with it.

All in all this was actually a pretty great read and it's nice to see a decent analysis of all of this crazy stuff. Good job :D

Mike

Thanks Iaman. Unfortunately, I'm out of invites for now, but I'll send you one as soon as I can :)

Dan Ott

Mike - nice roundup. As I was saying, I'm holding you partially responsible for me finally signing up on Twitter today. We'll see what happens(;

Keep up the good work!

beemer

great article as always.

Mike

Thanks guys :)

Mike

There are now more Jaiku invites up for grabs.

Iaman

Yeah, thanks for the invite :D

Matti

Invitations anymore? If I’ll get one (mp at vpa.fi), Santa will remember you, I’m his neighbor from Rovaniemi, Finland ;)

Mike

Sent one to Matti :)

blabto

thanks for the review and keep up the good work

dmccarthy

Hey great article! I use Twitter but would really like to try Jaiku.. i know your out of invites though. If anyone else has one avail that can send it my way that'd be cool and much appreciated! Thanks for the great info Mike!

mccarthy.daniel@gmail.com

Mike

Thanks, I'm sure someone with an invite will stop by. If I get any more I'll be sure to let you (and anyone else still waiting on one) know. :)

Michael

Does anyone know how long it takes to get a invite from Jaiku - I've been waiting ages.

Mike

I don't think they send out invites randomly, it's just every month or two they will allot users with 10 invites to send out to friends.

Unfortunately, I don't know the exact date that these are sent out, but I'll send you one as soon as I receive more :)