Tuesday 17 July 2007

Squawk - Where Second Life and Twitter Meet

Although it has been around for some time, I have come across surprisingly few virtual world blog references to the excellent Squawk utility., so I thought I should do my bit to rectify this situation.

In common with many SL'ers - and particularly SL bloggers - I find twitter an excellent tool for keeping in contact with people, picking up all manner of useful and/or amusing references. Twitter,a micro-blog in which you answer the question "What are you doing now?" in 140characters or less, been through a tough patch recently. A victim of its own success, it suffered a series of performance and availability issues as it struggled to cope with rapdily increasing volumes of messages. During this period a number of twitterers decamped to Jaiku, which offers similar capabilities. Latterly it has stabilised and many (including myself) have returned to the simple, basic interface of twitter.

Both of these tools have published interfaces, through which they have been integrated (mashed) with many other social network products. For example, I can track and update twitter from my Facebook account.

And this is where Squawk comes in. It delivers integration between these tools and that ultimate in social, collaborative network products - Second Life.

In Second Life, Squawk is represented as a bracelet object, worn on the left wrist (be default). Configuration is simply a matter of editing a builtin notecard, setting the relevant login parameters for Twitter, Jaiku and other similar tools. By default it uses chat channel 42, though again this can be overridden through the configuration notecard. You can also opt to include your location with your messages - though be aware that as this is displayed as part of your message, you need to keep any text fairly brief.

The basic Squawk is free... which will be a big attraction to the cost-conscious avatar. But you can opt to upgrade it, for a donation of 200L$, so that it displays tweets for people you are following. Download locations can be obtained from the Squawknest website.

My friend TerryAnn Antonelli has been making extensive use of Squawk for a while now. She usually sends out a squawk whenever she visits somewhere interesting in SL, and that, in turn, lets me build up a list of potential sites to visit by following her progress on Twitter.

As an RL/SL social networking tool, I would strongly recommend you give it a whirl.

I would like to thank my friends TerryAnn Antonelli and Deeeeep Witte for finally making me see the light.

If you want to track development of the product, you can do so through this blog. While you can view my twitter profile here.

UPDATE: Lisa Rein ponders: "I have no idea if squawk thing works yet. Trying to get to it! Seems to be working for others though." It works a treat for me! However the Squawknest website does seem a bit problematic. If you can't get a refererence there, try SL Exchange or follow this SLURL.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Squawk can also be worn as an HUD, which is what I do. It works amazingly well for me. -TerryAnn Antonelli