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More about Microsyntax

Page history last edited by Stowe Boyd 11 years, 4 months ago

MIcrosyntax.org (in brief)


Conventions -- or information patterns -- for various sorts of information content in Twitter messages have appeared in many ways. Some of the earliest conventions -- like the use of '@jennalee' to indicate a reply to or a mention of another Twitter user -- have been adopted by the Twitter application itself, but we expect that the great majority of future microsyntax will not undergo the same sort of standardization by fiat. Instead, a generalized sort of experimentation is going on, a sort of competition among various ideas for adding a higher degree of structure to the form of Twitter messages.

In some cases, a some innovator intentionally introduces a new pattern into Twitter, like the retweet symbol ('RT'), Chris Messina's hashtags ('#javascript') or my recent suggestion for location information '/London UK/'). In other cases, existing conventions from other contexts are imported and reused in Twitter, like stock market tickers ('$AAPL') or the use of '@username++' as a sign of agreement, derived from IRC chatrooms. And in other cases, noise starts to appear in the Twitter stream, crowding out the signal, because external applications are dumping information into -- or pulling information out of -- the Twitter stream.


Microsyntax (in the larger context)


Twitter is only one platform, one context, in the greater world that includes many other applications, such as Facebook, Friendfeed, and other aspiring or well-established platforms. There are also hundreds of external applications that interact with these platforms, extracting information and pushing it into the human readable streams where we as individuals are trying to make sense of an accelerating world.


As we begin to understand the role of Microsyntax within the Twitter context, and its role within the larger world that includes applications interacting with Twitter, we can then expand our attention to other platforms and their unique situations.

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