From Twittergram to SwitchABit

I love posting photos to my twitterstream. I do it all the time. The first service I used to do this is called twittergram and it was a proof of concept built by Dave Winer. I posted about it last fall and explained how I had set it up. Twittergram uses Flickr as it’s photo upload/hosting service and then pulls the photos (filtered by tag if you’d like) into your twitter stream as a link. It works well.

More recently, I started using twitpic which I like a tad better because it has full comment integration with twitter. If you comment on my twitpic, it’s posted as an @reply in twitter. That is a nice touch.

I’ve also been playing with a service called SwitchABit which does a lot more than route photos into twitter. It’s a broad platform for routing all kinds of things around the net (including photos from flickr to twitter). SwitchABit is being built by some friends and they’ve let me play around with it. It’s not yet available to the public.

But recently Dave Winer joined the SwitchABit project and he has ported twittergram to SwitchABit. I just went and tested out the new twittergram and it worked like a charm. Nicely done Dave.

I think I’ll be using these two services (twittergram and twitpic) interchangeably. I’ll use twittergram/switchabit when I want the photo in Flickr which I consider my primary online photo gallery. I’ll use twitpic when I just want to send a fun photo into my twitterstream but don’t really want it in Flickr.

Which points out the issues and the opportunity with something like SwitchABit. A "bit router" is a very cool concept but to make it really useful, the team will need to understand a lot about why people put their digital content in various places.  For example, I don’t really want all of my twitter posts going to Facebook, my blog’s twitter badge, and Tumblr. But I’d like some of them to go there. I don’t want all my photos I send to twitter to go to Flickr, but I want some of them to go there. I don’t want all my tumblr posts to go to this blog, but I’d love some of them to go there.

Dealing with that complexity in a simple way is not going to be easy. As Joshua Schachter taught me a few years back, the hardest technology problems involve reducing complexity, not increasing it.