Why Things Need Twitter

So, as I asked yesterday, what happens if every object has a status message?

  • You never again leave the oven on– it sends you a message when it’s on with nothing on/inside it.
  • You never get up to go to the washroom in a restaurant and see the bathroom is occupied.
  • Is the milk off or is it still good? Now you know.
  • Flights let you know in advance when they’re going to be late– no more finding out at the last minute when it’s convenient for the airline.
  • (Most important) Where are my car keys?

The status message can be expanded to every object in our world. It is natural and in fact inevitable that this will happen. It has no privacy concerns and is far more useful to know where an object is than to know random snippets from a person.

It might even be possible that we needed people to create the status message, but that the amount of interest in objects’ status will eventually supersede that interest in people.

This may seem like a stretch, but it’s natural. We don’t need to hear where Jim is on Twitter when we can ping his location instead.* I’m already finding that logging into foursquare is sometimes more useful to let people know where I am than sending them a text message.

Do you see the same thing?

* Merlene reminds us that locative metadata is great for avoiding people, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰





9 responses to “Why Things Need Twitter”

  1. Mohammed Al-Taee Avatar

    I’m using tweets instead of SMSs.

    I like the idea of bing, it will become real soon! bing someone instead of asking where are you?

    bing the refrigerator to see whats missing ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cool stuff and high class vision J

  2. Sal Avatar

    Albeit a very interesting and popular technology, twitter (and bing) will have to further evolve and morph.
    I totally agree that not only we need this but it will happen.
    It reminds me of a science fiction book I read a while ago “Ventus” ( on Amazon http://bit.ly/akFpZ6 ) where a whole planet was seeded with nanotechnology that gave even grains of sand the capability to communicate its status.

  3. John McLachlan Avatar

    It’s funny reading this post (and yesterday’s) when I’m in the middle of two old-world print design projects with deadlines.

    There is no lack of status message of these projects. Blaring in my head is “87% complete on project 1 / 23% complete on project two.” “SHUT UP” (that’s me talking to myself). ๐Ÿ™‚

    It’s interesting thinking about all this stuff and the examples that you give, Julien, make me wonder if we’ll have more time to think about other things because we won’t need to spend mental energy on wondering about the milk or the oven. On the other hand, we may not meet a long-lost friend we’d forgotten about on the way to the washroom because we never got up to go knowing the washroom was occupied.

    On the other hand, we’d never have a friend we’d forgotten about because we’d have status updates on them all.

    As for car keys, what are those?

  4. harriet fancott Avatar

    Or “Don’t bug me; I haven’t had my coffee yet.”

  5. harriet fancott Avatar

    I see that I completely missed the point! So I guess the staff espresso machine needs a status update once it’s available.

  6. Lisa Yallamas Avatar
    Lisa Yallamas

    Wouldn’t it be great if the Earth had an oven which could ping us its status? Oops a daisy, left it on again. Did you see G Force where all the electrical goods are secretly manufactured to turn into weapons when the satellite comes on? Ping~ Sorry, doesn’t everyone love a conspiracy theory.

  7. Lou Ettore Avatar

    I’m going to need a status ping when spring goes into full bloom. Or better yet when my wife is preparing to go the mall. I can get the money out before she does.


  8. CT Moore Avatar

    Dude, the mobile web guys are so ahead of you on this. I did a workshop at Nokia in late 2008, and even then they were talking about “smart houses”: things turn off when you and your phone leave the front door, and a smart fridge that notifies you via mobile when you’re low on something.

    I know it sounds years ahead, but the technology is already here. And the way I figure it, it’ll only take another 5 years before the price point lets it all hit critical mass the way that smart-phones have recently.

    Naturally, we’re starting to see a lot of the things you touched on with mobile apps — flight apps, car alarm apps, etc… But maybe Yelp should be working with restaurants on a washroom app…

  9. ray Avatar

    How cool would it be if there was a status indicator for the number of people at my Starbucks right now. This way I can plan to go earlier or later. Or even better would be the gym, who wants to wait in lines.

    This bakery uses Twitter to its fullest capabilities. “Everyone knows that baked goods tend to be best when fresh from the oven; the challenge for bakery customers is predicting when that might be. New technology from London agency Poke now removes the guesswork, however, by enabling bakeries to alert their customers via Twitter any time a new batch is done.” http://springwise.com/food_beverage/bakertweet/

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