I recently wrote a post called Liquid Email, in which I made the case for a new paradigm of email, one subordinate to streaming media like Twitter:
Imagine a liquid model of email, based on Twitter being my preferred context for communication:
- I receive email in Gmail.
- A new Twitter client (or a new version of Twitter) — let’s call it Liquidate — captures all my incoming emails from Gmail, and drops a shortened link into my stream for each, with the subject line as the tweet, and associating the email address of the sender to their Twitter handle, if known.
- The fact that this is an email would be made obvious in the UI, and I could open the text of the mail — and bring it right into context — by clicking on a link.
- I could read the email text, and then respond to the sender either by a Twitter message, direct message, or another email, depending on the circumstance, and based on various criteria, like whether the sender has a Twitter account.
- If I opt to reply by email, the client would send that into Gmail, and I would always have Gmail as a repository, if I want to search there.
In essence, I would be treating email messages as just a long format tweet, and using Gmail as an appliance to carry that message from my streaming context out to a world that has not completely switched to Twitter or liquid media. But the activities associated with ‘email’ would be carried out in the streaming context, and the email would be just another sort of media pulled into and then pushed out of the stream. And again, I would always be able to go to Gmail directly, if needed.
Almost immediately after writing that post, Nick Reynolds commented on it, saying that Tweetdeck had something in the works along those lines.
It turns out that Iain Dodsworth and crew had been working on Deck.ly, which bears similarities to what I was alluding to as liquid email, but not quite.
Deck.ly supports longer that 140 character Twitter messages, but does not integrate email in any way.
In the soon-to-be-released version 0.37.0 of Tweetdeck, when you type beyond 140 characters you are no longer warned that the message is too long. You will simply see the count of characters go beyond zero, as in this case below:
When other users of Tweetdeck see this post, it looks like this, with a ‘read more’ link appended:
When you click on the link it takes you to a Deck.ly page, showing the entire post.
Currently, the limit for Deck.ly posts are 5000 characters.
A non-Tweetdeck user would see the tweet slightly differently. Here’s the same tweet in Twitter, where a ‘… (cont)’ suffix is inserted into the text before the URL.
(By the way, I don’t think this is good microsyntax. Better would have been just the URL and the ellipsis, since the ellipsis can be encoded as a single character (option-; on Mac), with more of the original tweet showing.)
Oddly, Deck.ly doesn’t collate a strem of long posts under the user’s identity. There is no www.tweetdeck.com/twitter/stoweboyd, although all the long tweets I create are formed with that as the head of the URL, like http://www.tweetdeck.com/twitter/stoweboyd/~b47T4.Final Thoughts
Deck.ly is a good idea, and workably implemented. I think that a fuller realization of Deck.ly will include an aggregated stream of all of a user’s long posts, but otherwise I like what I see.
Deck.ly could also form the basis of a liquid media communication solution incorporating email, too. But that’s not their aspiration at the moment, I guess, although I am hungry for that to be built by someone, if not Tweetdeck.