My first morning in the New World

So, I awoke this morning, just, turned on my phone… and no more happy chirps from all my online friends telling me how their day was going. I missed the Beaver of Bad News; I missed news from thoroughlygood about his appointment with his doctor, and a few other bits of information that are not earth-shattering but for the last year or so have been part of my daily routine.

And I got online here and eventually found and approved the comments left on the previous post, too.

Rather than answer them in the comments, I thought I would start a new post. I did, of course, realise I was getting something for nothing, and practically every time I have tried to recruit a new person to the twitterverse almost the first question has been, “How does that work, financially? How are Twitter making ends meet?” So I entirely understand that this day has been long coming, and shouldn’t be all that much of a surprise. It makes a little more sense than when Orange killed Wildfire. It is still a wrench, however.

Then there were suggestions of workarounds. I have started using Cellity (although I don’t yet like it much) because I’m the sort of person who does have a smart phone and can install apps, and does have a 3G connection. There are people on my contact list who don’t have that option, and will be impossible to convince of the merits of upgrading to a wazzocky new phone just because of the changing status of Twitter.

There was a slightly weird comment along the lines of “You want it, you pay for it” which isn’t an option – there isn’t a button to say “I’ll pay for these text messages” and the email from Twitter just said their calculations came up with a nice round $1000 per user per year on 250 messages a week. Doing the maths makes that more than I currently pay Orange for all my mobile services (apart from SMS whilst abroad, which cost me dear this year and the occasional Dropped-My-Phone-And-Broke-It tax). I’m not at all averse to paying for good internet services I use regularly – I support all sorts of things from Goosync to Wikipedia – but £50 a month seems a bit steep.

Another slightly hostile comment along the lines of “you’ll just have to have more mobile phone masts in your ward.” Erm, what?! I have used my phone extensively in my ward, including 3G services, and I’m not aware of any black spots. We’re a city, we were probably ahead of the curve when it came to mobile phone masts.

And the suggestions about continuing with a mobile phone service at our conference next month. Well, yes, it is technically possible, but it’s gone from a 2-step simple solution

  1. text “Follow libdemvoice” to +44 7624 804 423, which you can do from anywhere in the world without us needing to know your number
  2. receive a message every time one of the team taps text into the internet

… to something a whole lot more complicated

  1. We would now have to actively collect mobile phone numbers and be sure they had consented to receiving messages (itself no mean feat).
  2. We’d have to process opt-ins and opt-outs ourself.
  3. We’d have to choose and learn how to use an SMS bulk mailer.
  4. We have to charge it up and pay for it,
  5. and if our service was succesful we might have to find some light touch way of passing the charges onto our users.

It would have been possible, but Twitter made it all easier. Now that’s all gone, gone. (fx rents clothes asunder)

As for the relative finances of the Lib Dems vs Twitter, who knows? The Lib Dems certainly don’t have Twitter’s reach. And Lib Dem Voice, who would have been offering the service, certainly have next to nothing in their account at the moment.

And another thing!

It’s just occurred to me that I lose some of the really helpful synergy between Twitter and IwantSandy (another free service I have come to rely on), who I had set up to send text messages to my phone to remind me of stuff. I need reminding to check my voicemail, to take the bin out on a Thursday, and which bin it is this week. I’m lost, I’m lost, wail, wail.

PS I hope GMail isn’t next.

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One comment on “My first morning in the New World

  1. Ryan Cullen says:

    If I could be bothered I might write my own blog post, but at the moment I’m sure this will be the death of Twitter.
    It’s key feature was “push” statuses over a widely accepted medium.
    I’ve got around 30 friends who I follow via SMS and another 30 who I only follow on the web.
    Working where I do, I’ve never worked out how they expected their business model to work (without having ad: instead of tip:). At best they might be able to barter to 1p per message, but at 250/week that’s £130 per user a year.
    Now if Twitter enable email alerts to only those who I used to follow via SMS, I could have real time updates via my Blackberry, however for those without such higher-tech devices, they won’t be bothered to use the system and so the service will have less value.

    There are talks about Apps, however most of those won’t run in the background all day, and whilst the IM feature is still broken, the really good ones are out of service.

    Only good news for me is that my CNPS bot will still work as I send to the long dial, and it replies with a direct message to my email.

    ps, just checked my coverage map and Nottingham has 3.6 Mbps across most of the city which is pretty fast (and I’m sure it won’t be long until that goes up to 7.2)

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