Heello: Take Twitter & Make It, Well, Twitter

Yesterday was a day for Twitter competition. From the subject-based Subjot to the virtual clone Heello – the creation of Twitpic founder Noah Everett. Heello is pretty much the same sort of micro-blogging service as Twitter with little to distinguish it, right down to the color scheme. With photo sharing already enabled (what else would you expect from the Twitpic team?) and video sharing and check-ins coming soon, there really is nothing special about this new service other than the clean slate effect these services usually enjoy at their inception. But wait, there is one promised feature that is a little different from the current Twitter feature set and seems to leverage the desire to connect with others via locale and/or shared experience – Heello’s Channels. Channels will permit users to “group” around a subject or location in order to see “pings” (not “tweets”) pertaining to that shared interest. O.k., now that is a cool layer to the concept.

I think Heello might have a bit of an uphill battle – Twitter has had to labor long and hard to attract mainstream attention and it still struggles with how best to monetize its “free” service. Nonetheless, I have to tip my hat to the challenger – if for no other reason than the fact that competition makes for a healthy marketplace and a win for the users. Best of luck, Mr. Everett.

Subjot: Take Twitter & Make It Relevant

Occasionally I have insomnia and the only way I can get back to sleep is get up and accomplish something. Anything. So, last night, I wandered downstairs at 2:45 a.m. and flipped on the computer. I skimmed the first few entries on Google + and stumbled onto Louis Gray’s post about another new service, Subjot. I took the bait, and visited the site.

It immediately captured my interest, mainly because it fills a hole that Twitter has left gaping wide open – the ability to view a stream based on the content you are interested in, rather than the person you are interested in. Yes, it looks a whole lot like Twitter, with its “bites” of information in short form (250 characters to be exact) flowing by in a stream, or more precisely at this early stage, a trickle. But there are a few meaningful differences. Subjot leads with its subject matter tags, rather than its users. You can, of course, follow people, but to do so, you have to select one of their subject areas. These are determined when people post their bites – you have to assign a category or tag describing the subject matter of the post. A post about Subjot should be tagged, obviously, with the Subjot tag. If you follow someone and have indicated you want to follow them for their expertise on Subjot, then this post will appear in your stream. However, when that same person posts about, say, Wagnerian Opera, which you have chosen (for better or worse) not to follow, you will NOT see their post about Ride of the Valkyrie in your stream.

 

Screenshot of Subjot Co-Founder Chris Carella's Stream

 

Another very cool feature that is baked in, but which requires a bit of finagling to achieve on Twitter, is the ability to readily comment about and see the conversation surrounding a particular post. Like you might find on Google +, there is the initial post and then related comments appended or nested with that post within the stream. You can find people by topics and browse topics themselves to build your stream in precisely the form you want. And, if your follows properly tag their posts, you will see your interests, your whole interests and nothing but your interests in your stream. Pretty freaking cool.

Right now, Subjot suffers, if anything, from a lack of user base. It is in invite only beta right now, but I happen to have a handy invite link if you are interested in checking this smart new service out. Just click here. Hope you like it as much as I did – I felt so accomplished I was able to fall right back asleep in no time!