Twitter's beauty is brevity. But what about when you need 1400 characters, not 140? What about when you want 20,000?
For those of us that are too prolix for Twitter, there are now two services that let you blather on for lines and lines with impunity. They're calling themselves "macroblogging" sites, and they have two distinct goals: one is to riff on what could be called the "culture" of Twitter by letting writers go on at alexandrine length. The other, more interesting purpose, is to serve as repositories for public rants.
The first, Woofer, is a 1400-character rant that will appear familiar to any Twitter user. The interface is almost identical, because according to the Wall Street Journal,thefounders conceived of it as a spinoff idea (you can even Tweet the things you write on Woofer, called woofs, and you post using your Twitter handle.)
"People think it's hilarious," says founder Peter Martin in the WSJ. "They get the irony." And then, apparently, they go on to use Woofer as intended. Like Brawndo energy drink or the Mighty Ducks hockey team, Woofer began as a goofy what-if and has ended up a usable product.
That bodes well for iMindi, a venture-backed startup that has regrouped since its founding last year to present us with something called the Mindex. The Mindex, as TechCrunch says, is "the exact opposite of Twitter," because it encourages people to post up to 20,000 characters and to piggyback their posts onto others. Once you post, iMindi automatically analyzes your post and links it to other topically similar posts to create something they call a "Thought Engine."
All that begs the question: if we have microblogging and macroblogging, what exactly became of regular old "blogging?"
The need for macroblogging, if there is one, can be partially attributed to what I'd call the Craigslist Rant Phenomenon. Sometimes, you've got strong feelings about something, but you don't necessarily want to start up a lifelong blogging project just to vent one particular rant. Some people turn to Craigslist for that opportunity, but those posts aren't kept around forever, and in small communities there's always the chance that you could be identified by the details you reveal. Hop onto Woofer or iMindi, however, and you can rant volubly with total anonymity. Not only that, iMindi will take your rant and actually make something with it, threading it into a weft of other similar rants in a way that might be useful or comforting to someone willing to dig through the clusterf*ck.
But that conclusion begs another: what are follow-me blog services like Posterous and Tumblr for? Are they macroblogs? Will any of these tools live on?