Prologue = Twitter for Groups
Just as I have happily settled into my Twitter addiction, the guys at WordPress have come up with a wordpress theme named Prologue that basically clones the general idea of Twitter and turns it into a distributed group messaging system:
Some folks have suggested that using WordPress, Prologue, and RSS you could create a pretty effective distributed version of Twitter. This isn’t something we’re personally interested in, but we’ve made the theme available as open source under the GPL so if you want to hack around it yourself you’re welcome to. For WordPress.com users the theme is available in your “Presentation” section.
So far, it seems the reaction to this is pretty lukewarm. As Allen Stern rightly points out, this is not a threat to Twitter at this point. Mark ‘Rizzn’ Hopkins doesn’t see too much of a use for it either, except for creating a private Twitter system with a higher uptime than Twitter itself.
It seems the basic idea behind this is that the combination of a WordPress blog, RSS. and Prologue could, with a bit more work, turn into an interesting alternative to Twitter. It would be a distributed system built around RSS subscriptions, which, so the theory goes, would make it immune to a general blackout. However (and maybe I am not thinking this through all the way right now), wouldn’t those people with 1000 followers end up with an enormous load on their servers?
As for now, though, the momentum is with Twitter and I don’t see much of a need to switch to an alternative. Even when Twitter is down, it isn’t more than an annoyance. After all, I don’t know anybody who is running anything mission critical on top of it.