Thursday 14th of August. I remember waking up early in the morning as I had to drive 150 Km outside Cairo to go for a meeting. Having my breakfast and morning coffee, I did the routine online activities I do every morning, like; checking my email, scanning through the RSS feeds, check if all the servers were up, and check my tweets. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw twitter announcing some important changes to their SMS service. The suicide note that twitter left before swallowing the hand grenade started by saying;
Beginning today, Twitter is no longer delivering outbound SMS over our UK number.
Oh wow, now that’s a sweet joke. They also added;
Updating via our UK number remains fully supported and these changes do not affect users in Canada, India, or the United States.
Wow, so that means that the rest of the world should find another way to post their tweets. Entrepreneurial ideas like tweetsms were born in the blink of the eye, whether it will be effective, or just die it’s something we should wait and see.
Frankly speaking, this did not change anything as both Mobile operators I am subscribed to were already not sending any SMS nor receiving any from Twitter, and I have been already using either Fring, or Twitter’s Mobile page to check and update my Tweets.
The reaction to Twitter’s blog post were mostly negative. The twitterers I follow were seriously thinking of going to Jaiku, although they hated it’s guts when they first tried it out in April this year, but it seems that the rule of the microblogging game has changed. Although I do like Jaiku’s as an overall service, and the fact that it sends notifications to all three Egyptian mobile operators and recieves only from two (Etisalat does not send SMS to Jaiku), I feel that both it’s web interface and their Nokia S60 application lack the simplicity and sleekness many users look for. This is just my mere point of view, and I truly respect that many of you might see otherwise. Jaiku is now owned by Google, and I don’t think there has been any improvements to their service ever since the acquisition.
For example, I have been requesting the activation code for my mobile for more than five times, and to this moment I did not get it. Not to forget that I even sent and email to their support address, and it returned by a mailbox full delivery error – now isn’t that sweet. Jaiku does have a lot of potential, but they have some bad joints which need to be sorted out really soon, specially that this could be their major opportunity. One more thing, Jaiku is still an invite only service, so you’d better know someone who uses Jaiku and has got invites to spare.
Another great alternative that OpenSource enthusiasts are calling out is identi.ca. A service which is simple to the bone, open source and runs on Laconica microblogging software. What I like about identi.ca that it does have IM updates service via GTalk/Jabber, email update service and also SMS. The SMS notification does not yet work for any of the operators in Egypt. If you are aware that any of the Egyptian providers support SMS over email, please let them know by dropping a line to email@example.com and they will make their utmost to add it. I wonder why twitter never thought of doing this instead of just cutting the connection. Regarding identi.ca’s support, I sent an email to them asking something about the SMS service, and recieved their reply in less than two hours – impressed :)
So which one will it be? Will Twitterers Stick with Twitter, or jump onboard the Jaiku Wagon? Or are we going for open source solutions like idetni.ca? Personally, I prefer Jaiku on all three, but the simplicity of identi.ca is pulling my leg. I will however continue microblogging with twitter until I make my final decision, specially that I never used an SMS to tweet.