Social messaging: What's the Status Quo?

It wasn't that long ago that you could share what you were doing at that exact time by messaging a few people from your mobile phone... but thanks to a few websites you can now you can do that just about anywhere and to absolutely everyone. Over the last year (or two) there has been a massive surge in what everyone likes to call "status updates" or "tweeting" if you want to limit it to a certain site. The purpose of this article is to just enlighten you with what is out there for this sole purpose of telling the world what you are doing.

1. Twitter - Well we start with what can only be described as the most powerful and popular of all. Twitter was started in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, the site was mainly a research project that was heavily involved within the Odeo Podcasting Network. Since its arrival in 2006 Twitter has gone from strength to strength winning major Web 2.0 award and Internet awards in general.

So what makes Twitter really good? Well you could start off with the usability you can't really not use an easier site to update your status. With the words "What are you doing?" above a text box its pretty obvious what you put in there but what makes this site really good is the amount of third party applications there are out there ranging from Twinkle to Tweetie to Twitterific for the iPhone and also not forgetting the Desktop and Mac applications like Twhirl and Tweetdeck. Another useful thing about twitter would be the ability to update via SMS if there's something I find useful when I can't get a good 3G signal its the ability to update via that, but quite recently Twitter has shot themselves in the foot there but removing the ability to reply to tweets via text in certain countries with UK being one of them.

Another thing Twitter has going for it, is that celebrities and political figures use Twitter, for example during the 2008 election Barack Obama joined so he could get involved in the tech side of the elections and even to this day he has over 90 thousand followers waiting to check his every move.

Recently there has been the chat about takeovers and buy outs for Twitter but as of writing this article they are standing firm with their quarterly funding and will continue to operate as a sole corporation.

2. Facebook - Facebook is bigger then Twitter but not for the status market though. Facebook originally was a college project to just connect a few users around a college campus but as with alot of popular things it grew from a few campus's to a few hundred countries. For the longest time though Facebook has been primarily a cleaner, slicker version of a profile site (with less customization) and unlike MySpace the site has a more personal following. You can join groups about your interests or even follow celebrities via their official pages or even profiles if you know them.

Where the status updates comes in is in the profile, where you can add whatever you are doing next to your name. For example you could put "Damien is writing an article" but in the past you could just read and that was it. Last year they decided to compete with the likes of Twitter, and began to allow other people to comment on what you just updated. Unlike Twitter the replies are mostly personal and not some random @'s on a site, it's directed to you and you can reply to the comments for as long as you like and its easier to keep track.

Many people will just use facebook for mobile or internet status updates because nearly everyone already has a facebook account so its just easier then signing up for a twitter account or anywhere to post them but facebook certainly as its perks to sharing your life.

3. - Last but not least is Soup a very useful site that you can use to share your life and files in this case. Before soup was thought of there was a very popular site called Pownce which allowed you to share files,pictures,music and messages with the ease of a submission but early last month Pownce was sold off and so was the idea, so in steps Soup as the main operator of micro-blogging. Soup was derived for the need of a site that would allow you to aggregate all your feeds from your popular sites into one like Flickr, and even your blog or any site that uses RSS.

Soups main feature is the ability to "micro blog" your status and attach pictures to that blog or a video or even a nice piece of music, this has become pretty popular lately purely because some people don't want to twitter because its not long enough but don't want the hassle in setting up a blog so this is sort of an in between measure.

Look very soon for an interview with the Soup team as I am trying to arrange a form of Q&A to know how this site came about and what they have planned!

Before I finish this article it would be good to mention the other sites that allow status and micro blogging and they would be Jaiku (now run by Google), Plurk (a cross between status and blogging) and Tumblr (primarily a micro blogging site). If you have any other sites which you think are great for status updates or micro blogging feel free to comment below!

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