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Prologue the last word in group micro-blogging?

Prologue is a new template by WordPress that allows collaborative groups to keep each other up to date Twitter style. In fact, Prologue is very similar to Twitter — including its flaws…

Prologue is a new template by WordPress that allows collaborative groups to keep each other up to date Twitter style. In fact, Prologue is very similar to Twitter — including its flaws…

In a series of examples of how Prologue would work in a group environment over on Rev2, Prologue inherits the flaws and weaknesses of its muse, Twitter:

“For example, I’d love to know when Tim, my programmer, is ‘almost done with latest prototype’ or John, our designer, is ‘uploading the mockups.’”

Which teased a comment out of me, albeit with correct grammar this time:

“Here’s where both Prologue and Twitter fall on their faces and Pownce takes things to their logical conclusion — does it matter what John the designer is doing if he can’t show you?

Yes, he can just paste in a link, but at the expense of his character allowance.

For me, Twitter specifically is nothing more than a stand-alone version of the Status update on Facebook, but with a more restricted word allowance.

In short, it’s crippleware, that people are bending all out of shape to make it do what Pownce does by default.

And I just don’t see Prologue improving the situation…”

Additionally, what Automattic are trying to do with their new WordPress template is give people a reason to not use Twitter, or not use it as often. Or at the very least double-post between Prologue and Twitter.

Is this likely to happen? The jury is out on that one, since it’s much too early to know for sure.

And how much of a challenge is it going to be to sell Prologue into environments that aren’t using Twitter? Probably very difficult, since to make Twitter work, people have to want to share, which needs to be habitual and be in-line with corporate policies.

So even in a private workgroup environment, Prologue just becomes more noise, accomplishing little more than an email to a bunch of people.

One key advantage that Prologue has over Twitter is that it’s a self-hosted solution, thankfully avoiding the near-endless periods of downtime Twitter experiences, which simply wash away what little utility there is.

Twitter is crippleware

I really find it hard to hide my dislike of Twitter, largely because the vast majority of people using it aren’t even answering the very question Twitter asks them every time they visit their home page — What are you doing?

As I said some time ago, Twitter is merely the educated half-cousin of the status update option in Facebook.

What’s disappointing is that the hideous Pownce versus Twitter debate keeps getting dragged out, when on paper, there is no comparison to make.

However, because those people that are forever forcing Twitter beyond its exceptionally limited feature set, comparisons are inevitable.

But how can one service that’s being forced to do unnatural things compare to another service that does those same things and more by default?

Which brings me to another observation of mine recently, over on Pownce last week:

“Here’s the thing, I’ve just had a lively chat with a guy on Skype about how he thinks technology X is better than technology Y.

The problem is, he only really thinks technology X is better because there’s more people using X.

That’s neither a justification for his argument, or a feature of technology X.

If all people are going to do is ignore the facts, avoid proper scrutiny and adopt a herd mentality, they’re denying themselves the chance of being a thought leader…”

Of course, the latter part of that observation unearths issues that drift outside the scope of this article.

Mobile Messaging versus Twitter versus Prologue

If the mobile service providers are looking for the next “killer app” then they need look no further than building a service to compete with Twitter and Prologue.

With the proliferation of municipal wireless technology becoming more and more of an inevitability, people will be using their mobile devices ever more.

In this scenario, services like Twitter add almost zero value while the mobile service providers will come into their own.

In a world of more interconnected communications, Prologue is a late entrant into a maturing market, and given they weren’t the first word in micro-blogging, I doubt they’ll be the last…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.