Twitter, tear down this #BBM!
As everyone expects, tomorrow’s WWDC Keynote will probably show some sort of deep integration of iOS5 with twitter. While I dream of an iChat client that sends DM1, I know it’s not meant to be.
At most, tomorrow’s announcement will enable iOS to send a tweet from anywhere in the OS where you can currently send an email –which is a lot of places, and easy to implement into any app.
This is great, but doesn’t help much in achieving BlackBerry Messenger freedom.
I think twitter has almost all the elements in place to become the messenger platform. Even their mission statement seems coherent with some sort chat application:
“We want to instantly connect people everywhere to what’s most important to them.”
Easy as 1-2-3:
In my mind, twitter only needs improve three aspects of Direct Messages to make it an useful chat alternative:
Make it secure: I don’t care what magic you use, but chats need to feel safe. Encrypt it end-to-end, put time expirations, tie them to only one device or even only allow official apps to have this feature, whatever the case, your security shouldn’t be questioned.
It must survive the Arab revolution test: a message that says “protest today in …” shouldn’t land me in jail that day.
Allow groups: Twitter already has a (very underused) feature that would work with this: Lists. Being able to DM @rmateu/friends should send a message to everyone that follows this group. Lists already can be public or private, so multiple group chats scenarios exist.
Make it really secure. I’m dead serious. Most people still defend BBM because of the wrong assumption that all the messages are encrypted. Revolutions, business deals or sexting, they all must be reasonably protected.
More is more:
Private accounts have not stopped twitter from becoming the pulse of the planet.
Enabling users to chat directly will ultimatly grow the user base, which as a result will make twitter’s public stream of councioness even more complete.