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Build your very own “personal” Twitter Like Service

[In continuation of our fortnightly theme, Twitter, here is presenting ways to build a twitter like service.]

If you have been even half-awake in the past year or so in the Tech world, you know what Twitter is.

For the blissfully ignorant, Twitter is a micro-blogging platform wherein you can post messages upto 140 characters in length. The Twitter trend has caught on like wild-fire and the company is also been considered for a Nobel prize for their involvement in the Iran election fiasco.

The ability to convey messages in 140-or-less characters mandates the poster to concentrate on the content of the messages. Furthermore, the notion of  “follow”ing certain people, whose posts might be more interesting than others, makes this a very compelling Social media platform.

However, albiet all the aforementioned properties making this a phenomenally successful platform, it has it’s own shortcomings. The chief among these being, the inability to deploy your own service for personal, commercial or corporate use.

There are companies like Yammer, who have a corporate micro-blogging solution, but then again, this involves costs.

Laconica is a free and open source micro-blogging platform that comes with all the features of Twitter … and then some. Laconica, founded by Even Prodromou , is completely written in PHP and can be deployed on your good old LAMP (Linux, Apapce, MySQL, PHP) stack.

An important aspect of Laconica is that it follows the Open Microblogging standards, is compliant with OpenID authentication and has Faccebook integrations. And all these are over and above the “basic” micro-blogging properties like Hash tagging, following, Automatic URL shortening, etc.

Identi.ca is the first micro-blogging service deployed in the cloud, which uses Laconica in the backend.

Some more distinguishing features of Laconica are :

  • The ability to have groups and although this can now be achieved on various third-pary clients on Twitter, the in-built ability to do this, does have it’s advantages.
  • Availability and ability to add plugins
  • Twitter-compatible API which makes cross-posting not only to other Laconica deployments, but also to Twitter easier.

The list is quite comprehensive and their “Upcoming Features” list also looks desirable.

Laconica has already thousands of deployments. To see a complete list of some of the popular servers, take a look at their Server List page. Identi.ca and the TWiT Army are probably the biggest and most popular. And these are just the known ones. There might be hunderds of “local” LAN deployments, corporate deployments out there that have not been tracked here.

After all it’s goodness, there was just one drawback that I could come across : the Installation procedure. Now this might be a breeze for anyone who already have their hands dirty with other LAMP implementations, but for a Noob, it can be formidable. If the readers wish, I could write about the installation procedure in more detail. Laconica has a great community and the people are more than willing to help anyone out. Once this barrier has been crossed, Laconica is a great experience.

I personally feel that instead of deploying a me-too clone, (remember Chittr , which joined our shortcircuit pool?), it makes much more sense to just deploy your own private service.

So what are you waiting for ? Sign-up at Identi.ca and check out the features.

Do you think Twitter should implement some of Identi.ca’s feaures ? Would you deploy a Laconica server for your personal/ corporate needs ?

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