Thursday, May 8, 2008

Twitter Microfeed Covering the SaaS/PaaS/Cloud Markets for those without a Cognitive Surplus

Most of you have probably seen Clay Shirky's material on the great Cognitive Surplus - the free time that everyone wastes by watching TV. Awesome stuff, but if you are trying to keep up with all the activity in the SaaS, PaaS and Cloud industries by definition you have no Cognitive Surplus. We are in information overload. Subscribing to specific feeds or Google Alerts can help isolate the signal from the noise, but sometimes even that can be challenging. Let me propose a solution: I have created a microfeed for this space on Twitter. This blog discusses how you can subscribe to this feed and stay in touch with the news in a very lightweight way.

 NOTE: this blog entry was originally posted May 8th, 2008 on my previous blogging system (

Twitter and the 140 Character Budget

We had email, then we added instant messaging, and now we have Twitter. What is the trend here? Brevity. Stop with the 3 page emails and get to the point. Its all about time, and we don't have enough.

For those who haven't already taken the plunge into Twitter, let me explain its single most rewarding feature. It limits each message (tweet) to 140 characters. It forces brevity on the author, and this is a very good thing. Like telegrams of the past, authors need to choose their words (actually, characters) very carefully to get their point across in those precious 140.

For Twitter subscribers, this means you get messages that are short and to the point. What's not to love.


Twitter Microfeeds

Twitter began as a personal messaging platform. The message publishing box asks "What are you doing?" The intent is to keep your buddies apprised as to what you are doing throughout your day.

But the Twitter community being who they are have found creative uses for this messaging platform. Microfeeds (a term I prefer to Twitter Feeds), are one such use. The idea being that there is utility in getting short alerts on news throughout your day without being disruptive. This doesn't replace the full RSS scan you do when you have the time, but helps to keep you informed when you cannot spare time to do even that. Coupled with the option to receive your Twitter messages via SMS on your phone, it is also a way to stay informed even while you are out and about.

There are at least two ways to publish a Twitter microfeed:

  • Using an automated service like TwitterFeed to watch an RSS/ATOM feed and pump the first 140 characters of each entry to Twitter
  • Hand crafting the feed to fine tune each message

The former is the most timely and easiest, but can be very noisy if you are aggregating many feeds, and may not convey a lot of information in the message since it just grabs the title and maybe a few more characters from the entry. A handcrafted approach assures the readers that they are getting quality messages.


Introducing the SaaS/PaaS/Cloud Microfeed

That was all very abstract. What is important to know is that I have created a handcrafted microfeed for S/P/C and encourage you to try it. I plan to be very selective in posting the following types of information in the space:

  • Major deals, acquisitions
  • Product launches
  • Call for Papers for upcoming conferences
  • Notice of upcoming events, like webinars
  • Insightful blog posts

For an SLA, I will attempt to stay under 20 messages per week, with a target load of 2-3 per day. But as we go along, please give me feedback as to content and quantity.

As a sample, here is the feed as it currently stands right now:

Boothby: Joyent video collage of interviews at Web2.0Expo "what is cloud computing" . Tim O'Reilly, others. about 3 hours ago from web 

Wainewright: Taleo acquires Vurv, joins SaaS revenue all stars SFDC, Omniture, Concur 08:38 PM May 06, 2008 from web

IBM: Call for Papers for IBM's "Info On Demand" conference (Oct. 26-31), 08:49 AM May 06, 2008 from web

MySQL: offering webinar May 15, "Multi-Tenant Architectures with MySQL Enterprise for SaaS Providers". Register: 08:34 AM May 06, 2008 from web

Craig Balding: NPR (radio) featured him and Cloud Computing for 3.5 minute segment. To listen, see: 02:14 PM May 05, 2008 from web

Mosso: (Rackspace's cloud division) launches Storage-aaService CloudFS private beta, $0.15 per gigabyte 02:06 PM May 05, 2008 from web

Bungee: revise 4/30 tweet - Pg/MySQL anncment is not a hosting offering, support is for connectivity only. See: 01:41 PM May 05, 2008 from web

Kaplan: THINKStrategies supporting SaaS industry study, call for SaaS providers with rev $10M-250M 01:36 PM May 05, 2008 from web

Willis: provides a listing of cloud solutions predating the Laird SaaSMap. "Cloud Vendors A to Z" 01:33 PM May 05, 2008 from web

Druker: financial SaaS provider Intacct raises another $15M to help battle Netsuite. Total funding so far $29M 10:08 AM May 03, 2008 from web

Laird,Dickson: created a visual SaaS/Cloud/PaaS industry map, showing the major focus areas and players. 09:49 AM May 03, 2008 from web

Wainewright: MSFT to try MSOffice stream ondemand (not in cloud) with license change. See also EndeavoursTech. 09:42 AM May 03, 2008 from web

Wainewright: SAP disaster - delays SaaS 12-18 months after validating market. Gift to Netsuite, Twinfield, CODA. 09:34 AM May 03, 2008 from web



Subscribing to the ondemand Microfeed

The Twitter account being used for this microfeed is:

For those already on Twitter, just follow that account and be sure to enable device updates for it. For new users, follow these instructions:

  1. Create a Twitter account, using whatever name you like
  2. Skip the email search wizard
  3. Search for the "ondemand" user using the search box
  4. Click the Follow button

To subscribe your phone to get an SMS message whenever a new post appears, do the following:

  1. Click Settings in the upper right
  2. Click Devices
  3. Enter your phone number, and be sure to check the box to approve SMS
  4. Click the Home link at the top of the page.
  5. Click on the Following link on the right hand side of the page
  6. Click the on button for device updates for ondemand


Twitter Clients

There are many ways to stay on top of this Twitter microfeed. I am optimizing for readability on SMS but really any client will do.

  • The traditional Twitter website user interface
  • Enable device updates for the ondemand account, and you will receive SMS messages
  • Thwirl - a powerful desktop client
  • Facebook integration


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