I’ve been actively involved on Twitter for almost a year now, and I have a lot to thank it for. I’ve been introduced to some fantastic folks via Twitter, some of whom have even made guest appearances in my classes. I’ve developed a PLN around Twitter that has heavily informed not only how I use technology in my teaching, but my entire mindset regarding education irrespective of technology. I talk every day with smart, funny people who care a great deal about kids, learning, and teaching.
So why might I jump ship?
Identi.ca is the new microblogging kid on the block, and at first glance, it not only seems similar to Twitter, Pownce, Plurk, etc., it actually seems like it has less to offer. No replies buttons or tabs, no search bar, just a steady stream of messages and the ability to ‘subscribe’ to one another.
What entices me about Identi.ca is the fact that it’s open source. While Twitter has been having trouble staying on its feet lately (it has been better of late, to be fair), I wonder how long it would take for Identi.ca users with some technical knowledge to diagnose and attack the underlying problems. Seems like a good thing to have “more hands on deck.” There’s more to be said about it, but Mike Bogle covered it in pretty good detail in his post and follow-up comment here. With add-ons and other contributions from the Identi.ca community, I’m seeing the potential for Identi.ca to play Firefox to Twitter’s IE – highly customizable and community-based.
I also like Identi.ca’s commitment to the OpenMicroBlogging protocol. Essentially, conversations could take place across services, so there’d be no need for a Twitter account, Plurk account, etc. One protocol to rule them all, so to speak. There is already a plethora of services for cross-posting to multiple services, but nothing to aggregate responses and facilitate discussion.
To me, the discussions and exchanges of ideas that take place on Twitter are by far its most important factor, and why I won’t be deleting my Twitter account anytime soon. Identi.ca may evolve into something great, and I’ll definitely stick with it, unlike a lot of other microblogging services. Without the people who make up my network, however, it won’t be of nearly as much value as Twitter, broken down and everything. Ultimately, it’s the people, not the tools, that give the network its value.