Sunday, April 08, 2007


Leo Laporte is widely acknowledged as the man with the most number of followers on Twitter (4,420 as of this writing).

So I don't doubt that many were surprised (and perhaps even dismayed) when he decided to move from Twitter to Jaiku.

He had a really good reason, though:

The problem is the name. I wish to heck he'd named it Tweeter, or Tooter, or anything but Twitter. Twitter is so close to TWiT that I'm afraid it's really confusing.

And it hasn't helped the confusion that I've been such a fan of Twitter. I'm sure half the people there think we have some sort of relationship. But we don't. And the proliferation of programs like Twitbox and sites like Twit This are not helping things much. So let me repeat...

Twitter has nothing to do with TWiT.

And, I'm afraid, I can't have anything to do with Twitter, either. It's just fueling the confusion.
Since publicly announcing his move to Jaiku, Leo has been encouraging people to sign up. Jaiku staggered a bit under the weight of such unexpected traffic, but it got back up on its feet quickly enough.

Leo advises die-hard Twitterers to create an account on Jaiku, because it's easy enough to have your presence on both, thanks to RSS.

So I guess it should come as no surprise that someone out there has thought of doing the exact same thing, but in reverse. There's no clue as to who's behind it, but we now have Leomatic, a bot that cross-posts Leo's Jaiku feed into Twitter.

It's both strange and amusing how technology can cut both ways.

* * *

Update 1: I just remembered this quote from Evan Williams, from an interview recently posted on Wired:
“Twitter” is a trademark of Obvious, and we are concerned about scenarios where users could be confused about who’s behind a service they're using -- especially if they're putting personal information into it. We ask that developers just try to make it clear that their tool or service works with Twitter but is not run by the same people. This is an issue we'll have to get clearer on as things evolve, perhaps.
I guess it just goes to show that even though we're in different boats, we're all still in the same ocean.

* * *

Update 2: Jaiku user pb30 gets the credit for setting up leomatic.

Leo has seen the bot and has this to say:
I don't think it's a problem as long as it's not me. And I am glad for the followers who don't want to leave Twitter but still want my updates (for some reason).

Thanks for doing it. I think it solves a number of problems. As I hope I made clear I love Twitter (although I'm coming to like Jaiku even more) - I just don't feel like I can participate on it without further jeopardizing my brand spanking new TWiT trademark. I hate this stuff but I'm trying to do the right thing all around.
It's strange, really. Back when he was the guy with the most followers on Twitter, I didn't feel inclined to follow him. After he moved to Jaiku, I added leomatic as a friend. * shrug! * Go figure.