I know, horrible word, but new worlds need new language. I've been playing with Twitter for a while now. It's fun and I've made a few friends there. I even found a nice client in TwitterFox that lets me keep up with my updates from within Firefox. But there are some issues. The site is still struggling with performance issues, so sometimes it doesn't all work. The ability to post from XMPP/Jabber/GTalk has been down for weeks. I've been seeing a lot of the Fail Whale when I go to the site. Another issue with Twitter is that it is a closed source system.
This week I found out about identi.ca. It looks like a Twitter clone, but lacks a lot of the features. That should change as it is running on open source software. I've not checked it out myself, but I expect a few people will be. That means that more people could set up their own microblog sites. The problem then is that the network will be fragmented. They have an answer to that in the OpenMicroBlogging specification to allow messages to be sent between services. I'm not sure if you can actually do that yet, but it's a good sign.
Other good signs are use of OpenID for those who don't want yet another password and FOAF to make the data accessible. It also works fine from my IM clients. There is a lot of work to do there, but I have high hopes. I've even linked up with one of my Twitter contacts there. I've picked up a few followers for unknown reasons. I'm unsure of their motives. The same thing happens on Twitter as an attempt to get attention.
My other new web presence this week is at Whoisi. This appears to be similar to FriendFeed, but with some crucial differences. There is no ability to log in. Anyone can create and edit an account for anyone they choose and associate feeds with it, but they have no ownership of it. That sounds like anarchy, but we shall see. I've seen mention of them keeping history in case of vandalism. On FriendFeed I created my own feeds for friends to track their various accounts, but that was private to me. I could do the same on Whoisi and then anyone could follow them. Is that a good idea or an invasion of privacy. Some people might not want their various on-line identities to be linked. If they are not already making the connections public then I will not do so. You can still select a group of people to follow, but that setting is only stored as a cookie or as a private unique link that you need to save. As with identi.ca, some people I know are already there. The site will suit those who don't want to have to set up more accounts, but lacks conveniences like RSS.
I don't actually sign up for every service I hear about. There have been a few I have checked out and then not used, but generally I only sign up if I see a real use. I have my core of useful sites linked from the homepage of this site.