Twitpic was new to me so I Googled it and discovered that the killerstartups blog gave a somewhat politically incorrect description of how a photographic microblogging extension to Twitter might be used:
Yes, Twitter is unstoppable. And it’s currently amassing an army of Twitter related apps that’ll ensure its reign for a good amount of time. The latest recruit is TwitPic, an application that allows you to post photos and images to your Twitter stream. Now daily ramblings can have an added visual element instead of just the usual plain stream of text. Say you’ve just had the worst blind date ever, but you managed snap a pic of the twit. Now you can go home and post your grievances along with a visual aid to demonstrate your dating woes. TwitPic works from your PC. All you have to do is log in to your Twitter and upload the image or photo you want, then post it. TwitPic is absolutely free.
Via Techcrunch I found that the service was launched in November 2007 but the service seems to only now becoming discussed on the blogosphere and in Twitterland. Worth further investigation, I felt, so I created my fist twitpic. And I quickly received a response from Noah Everett, the TwitPic developer who directed me to a page which described why he had developed the service: “TwitPic was born out of my need to be able to share & comment on photos easily with twitter. I developed it over a weekend, from concept to working site. As always I’m open to feature suggestions“.
Blogowogo, however, points out that:
An obvious disadvantage to Twitpic is that you have to be in front of your computer to post your images. Contrast this with other services such as VisualTwitter and MobyPicture, which allow you to upload an image from your mobile device. Seeing as Twitter really shines as an on-the-go social network, this limitation might be devastating.
Hmm – so there are other services available which build on Twitter which I wasn’t aware of. Indeed the day before discovering Twitpic Brian Suda mentioned the Twitterwhere service which is described on readwriteweb.com as “a service that makes tracking Tweets from any location“.
Rather than discussing how such services might be used (a topic I raised recently) I would make the observation that the development of these services is based on lightweight services and open APIs. The approach isn’t one of developing a richly sophisticated service or use of data standards which will cover every contingency. Is this approach one we should be adopting more generally, I wonder? And I’ll leave it to others to suggest how Twitpic, Twitterwhere, Twitterfoo and Twitterbar (too late, that’s already gone) might be used to deliver real benefits.