Texting vs Tweeting

Last night I sent my friend Steve a text message. It was late and I didn't check to see his reply before going to bed. When I was working on my computer this morning, I remembered the text and wanted to see his reply. I thought to myself, "I wish I could just go to a website and see his reply and reply back."

That's the twittter experience bleeding into the text messaging experience. The beauty of twitter is you can send the message on your phone, get the reply on the web, and see the continuation of the conversation on your desktop.

Of course email works that way too and has for at least ten years. Twitter brought the model to short messaging. It will be interesting to see if SMS can evolve or if services like Twitter will replace them because of the ubiquity.

While I'm on the subject of Steve, he's launched a new web series on chefs and their signature dishes called BeyondTheDish.TV. I grew up eating veal schnitzel and this episode on Kurt Gutenbrunner's version is fun and informative. 

#Food and Drink#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. jonsteinberg

    Google Voice solves for this perfectly. Respond to SMS from gvoice in my browser often.

    1. fredwilson

      ah. that’s a very nice feature. i really wish google voice would support phone tag, then i’d work it into my setup

      1. Guest

        To clarify, do you mean the phone tag voicemail transcription service (at phonetag.com)?

        1. fredwilson


      2. <name>

        It gets better. If you configure SMS-to-email, you can respond to SMS by email in addition to the browser, just like disqus comments (and now Facebook too).

        1. ShanaC

          I love that, my friend who I gave it to loves that to. I never know how we are texting or emailing.It’s a total BBM killer, since everyone has email and SMS. It makes it easy to switch back and forth…OMG the best feature ever!

      3. Chris Phenner

        Fred: Google Voice offers vm transcription. It works the same as PhoneTag, at least insofar as the configuration. If you login to your Google Voice dashboard, then go Settings -> Voicemail & SMS -> Voicemail Transcripts, you’ll find a checkbox to activiate it. Google does a terrific job of burying this, but I canceled PhoneTag in exchange for GV’s transcription.Note: If you prefer the human transcription of PhoneTag and knew this already, then disregard. PhoneTag’s transcription quality is higher than that of GV, but for triaging vm and keeping it hosted and searchable, it does the job. Plus you can reply to vms via SMS, email or phone right from the GV dashboard. I can only imagine a Nexus One does a nice job of this.Seems like Google is doing to voicemail transcription firms what it did to GPS device OEMs when it announced turn-by-turn directions. Perhaps a driver for Spinvox’s exit.

        1. fredwilson

          i knew that but i prefer the human transcriptioni just wish google would add phonetag as an option

          1. andrewwatson

            I actually partnered with a company out in the Bay Area (MyCaption.com) to do human transcription for the voicemail platform that I built into OtherNum.com because It’s 100x better than GV and it took me about 2 hours to integrate their API into the site. I’m hoping that gives us a leg up on GV for people who want better quality. The cost was fairly low as well.

  2. DGentry

    I believe if you SMS to a Google Voice number, it will appear on the voice.google.com page and (optionally) forward to email.So far as I know, it isn’t possible to break out the SMS handling from a carrier-supplied phone number and let a service like Google Voice handle it. You rely on the carrier’s support; there is no telling if or when they would decide to offer web access.

  3. im2b_dl

    Fred just a note on the show…he does a good job. Must have someone who gets the pacing arc of the “segment”, the importance of really clear sound and who understands that great line of using natural light without losing him in the shadows…. and great audio framing with levels.

    1. fredwilson

      i thought it was well done too. i particularly like the salting trick that kurt showed him

  4. mikescheiner

    Very cool. A cross between the http://www.greatchefs.com/ series that use to be on the Discovery channel and some of the Mark Bittman shows. Seems to answer and get into some of the cooking questions and techniques that other interviews seem to leave out.

    1. fredwilson

      yup. the key will be how frequently he can do them and how inexpensively. web video is a tough way to make money.

    2. stevefried

      Mike, hey read your comment and really appreciate it. glad you like Beyond the Dish. Over the next 2 weeks we’ll be posting the other 2 segments. be on the look out. please share the http://www.beyondthedish.tv blog with others. Best, Stephen

      1. mikescheiner

        Hey, Steve, Thank you and not a problem. I think to Fred’s earlier comment, their could be some potential advertisers who could be interested in your show. My other question is, will this show be NY based only or do you plan to role it out into major cities? Your timing could also be right, due to the issues that the food network is having with cable providers. What I like most from your show is getting a POV and insights from a variety of great chefs. The shows on the food network, I think are played out. Which is making shows like Man Vs. Food or of course No Reservations with Tony B, so refreshing. Best, Mike

        1. stevefried

          Mike, having similar thoughts on the timing issue w the food network and the need for content. I want to build it locally 1st, then go nationally and ultimately internationally. What is your business? Would love to get any additional ideas from you and see if you know people in “the biz” that may be looking to get involved w this. I am looking for sponsors to help fund future shows, or a production company to collaborate with or a netwk to pick up the show. Appreciate any ideas thoughts and suggestions.Go jets!!

  5. Halley Suitt Tucker

    Hi Fred — So I bet you know another thing SMS’s, Twitter and Schnitzel all have in common — they are little “cut up” pieces. Schnitzel, cutlet, from the pp of schneiden, to cut. (Like the guy who cuts you a new suit, the tailor, Mr. Schneider.) So cut up sentences of text (SMS) and chopped up phrases (Twitter), all digitally tailored to byte-sized pieces of delicious data. — Halley

    1. fredwilson

      that’s great. i wish i had that in my head when i wrote the post. very nicely done.

  6. Adam Wexler

    a bit off topic, but i’ve always wondered why texting (and twitter) don’t allow for html edits? too many messages get lost in translation when you can’t emphasize a word via (i.e.) bolding. i think it’s a lot more effective than ALL CAPS (can you tell i was screaming?)-adam

    1. andrewwatson

      you would almost need a simpler markup than html though. something like the markup you can use in a wiki or on a writeboard from 37signals…

  7. Alan

    You can do that if you use Google Voice for text messages. I go between iPhone and computer for text messages often. Of course it only works with the Google Voice number, and I only use it about half the time. Since it doesn’t support MMS I can’t use it full time. I understand Google Voice works great on the Nexus One.

  8. migdesigner

    I relate directly with this thought, Fred. As the data is just being ‘written’ to a repository and displayed on a particular device, why couldn’t we just access that same repository from the browser? I mean, it’s just a text content type with a data stamp on it….. right?Related and a small discovery I noticed with Google Voice; if person calling you has a Google Voice number and you get the transcribed message as an SMS or email, replying to either in sends the person who called that message in the manner *they* have set as a preference to their Google Voice account. Put another way; if I call your Google Voice number and leave a message and you get the SMS of it and reply back to me via SMS; I will get your reply as an SMS. It’s a pretty slick and not publicized feature of the service.

  9. christmasgorilla

    I agree that I’ve always wanted texting to grow up to be more integrated with webservices and Google Voice does a pretty good job of it.But here’s the the thing: the SMS protocol is really lacking in a lot of ways (no header information, can’t see multiple recipients, etc) and email covers all of that.While short messaging is incredibly popular now because it’s the only ubiquitious form of push notification (email will be there in a year or so with smartphones)–does it get great extra value by being a channel that’s separate from email so it doesn’t get lost in the noise? And does that value end up being diminished by turning it into more of a desktop / web style application? And does it lose anything by being grafted onto the now web?I think so.

  10. Peter Fleckenstein

    Fred, that is the best explanation of what Twitter is, ever. And I get a great video about shnitzel too?!!FTW!!!

    1. fredwilson

      A relaxing long weekend at the beach can do wonders for clarity of the mind 🙂

      1. Peter Fleckenstein

        Perhaps it would be good for Union Ventures to open up a beach front officethen?Surfing & the waves are a great analogy of the VC world & entrepreneurship.;-)

  11. harpos_blues

    Fred,ZipWhip (http://zipwhip.com) is a company that provides browser-based access to SMS messages. ZipWhip is in beta now with Sprint. There does appear to be invitation-only access to the beta from the ZipWhip web site, though it may be carrier-specific, but not necessarily limited to Sprint.Also, thanks for the schnitzel video, as I love to cook, so I’ll follow BeyondTheDish on the ‘Tubes for sure. It would be great if Steve would post a link to a list of ingredients from the video; I didn’t see link from the video from my Palm Pre.

  12. ShanaC

    I still prefer the local ways of cooking shnitzel…

  13. markslater

    SMS is not going anywhere.Someone is going to use it to connect consumers with merchants in real-time.

    1. timtolbert

      Mark is dead on with his comments, SMS is already being used to connect countless consumers with merchants and other organizations. We’re doing it every day at Front Door Insights.

      1. markslater

        its dead simple.Txt in your intent to SC XXXXX – have the service query and then contact local merchants (via TXT) – get back an incentive. Store all this in a butler, share it all etc etc.Why would a small business merchant not want real-time leads? why would a consumer not query the service as they decide to do something?And before anyone goes off down the foursquare route – not baking in a merchant service upfront is where they fell down.

  14. Niall

    It’s ridiculous that the operators never got their act together to build/enable transparent cross-web/mobile messaging. Their self service web offerings have always been sub-par (it’s hard to tell if that’s intentional or not).In addition to Twitter, I think this space will also see competition from the free alternatives to SMS like Ping and WhatsApp (these are mostly on top of iPhone push notifications, but I’m sure we’ll see some for the Android platform soon).

  15. Alex Murphy

    Google Wave will address this basic need, it will take a few years though in my opinion as more companies need to adopt the framework. This will allow for you to build on a conversation that can start in a short form like a blog or tweet but then allow the conversation to grow into something much more meaningful.

  16. goldwerger

    Nothing beats a perfectly cooked Schnitzel… 🙂

    1. Aviah Laor

      absolutely. technology has it’s limits.

    2. stevefried

      thx man. these were super tasty and the lemon and lingonberry added a really nice touch.

  17. RichardF

    One day we probably will have a ubiquitous instant messenger that replaces sms/Twitter/Aim and a unified service provider like Google Voice is possibly the catalyst.However like Mark says sms is not going anywhere:Mobile subscriptions worldwide is something like 4.6 billion. 4.1 trillion text messages were sent in 2008 Whilst being able to read a text message conversation on a web page is a nice feature, the single most important Twitter killing aspect of an sms in my opinion is that I can send a text message to someone just about anywhere in the world, receive a reply (pushed) and I do not require an internet connection of any kind, all I need is their mobile number. Anyone wanting to disrupt sms as a mobile messaging tool is playing big time catch up in my opinion and relying on “always on”, global, mobile web access to arrive anytime soon.

  18. WA

    Love the 5 year education in all things tech and venture here and truly passionate about schnitzel as well. Figelmuellers in Vienna behind St. Stephans on Wolenzie.Not to miss for the schnitzel addicted…

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks for that tip. I’ll save that one for my next austrian adventure

    2. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Never tried there but I must have passed it hundreds of times over the years. Spent many happy times working/socializing in and around Vienna. It’s a greatly underrated city/region.Our fave such style of eatery was just outside of Vienna – Nikodemus, Purkesdorf.We must get back there this year!

      1. WA

        I fell in love with Austria in the late 70’s on a highschool trip. My wife and I have been back several times since through out the past decade. I look forward to getting back as well. Will keep Nikodemus on the map! Thanks!Figelmuellers (Figelmuller) has been using the same bakery for their breadcrumbs since 1905. I caught a special article about it in the NY Times years ago. So in 2004 and again in 2007 we made certain to go. They take about 10 ounces of veal and then pound it wafer thin…it is so large it hangs off the plate and could be mistaken for a small pizza!

  19. Carl Rahn Griffith

    What I really like about Twitter dialogues, and SMS ones, is that I feel I am communicating with the person and not a domain, mail server, inbox, junk mail filter, etc.

  20. johnlauer

    Hi folks. John Lauer, CEO of Zipwhip, here. Indeed we are working to solve exactly what Fred is describing. You will be able to go to your carrier site and use a texting portal that is an equivalent experience as on your phone and then some.You will be able to see all of your texts from your phone seamlessly. You will also be able to “bind” into your SMS account from other places and other software just like IMAP/Exchange enable for email or just like Twitter enables via their API.We should have had this years ago, but SMS has grown up in such a way that this never happened. As SMS continues to grow and consumers are starting to ask themselves the same thing Fred is, the carriers are recognizing it and letting us help them solve it. Stay tuned.

  21. Albert Sun

    Do you not have your phone with you when at your computer?

    1. johnlauer

      Albert, sure you do, but that’s like saying “Once you have a Blackberry, you can delete Outlook off your computer.”

  22. keith.erskine

    Text messaging by itself is limited in following a conversation, but integrated with another application it can offer the benefits of Twitter plus a lot more. My company, Padpaw, recently announced Group Text for Meetup.com. It gives a mobile and immediate way for Meetup organizers to get in touch with members (like Twitter) while keeping conversations private and focussed (big requirement from Meetup groups).You can read more about it here <http: bit.ly=”” bwlnzg=””>. I would have posted a response to your blog post sooner, but I didn’t want to pre-announce =)

  23. jones scott

    Beyond the Dish… genious stuff!