Open MicroBlogging

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= OpenMicroBlogging Specification, To allow users of one microblogging service to publish notices to users of another service, given the other users' permission.


Used by


"The OpenMicroBlogging standard already exists — it’s just that Twitter’s not playing along, possibly because it could lose market share if the open standard succeeds before it manages to monetize its service. One platform that adheres to the Open MicroBlogging (OMB) standard is StatusNet (previously known as, an open-source Twitter-style network launched by on July 2 of last year (others include OpenMicroBlogger and Google’s Jaiku).

StatusNet, which seems to have gained more traction than the other two OMB platforms, forms the backbone of — an open-source Twitter clone with features Twitter lacks (image uploading, trackbacks, native video playback, OpenID) that lets you post updates to its own network as well as Twitter and Facebook. will soon add the ability to follow Twitter and Facebook feeds using the corresponding APIs, so users will soon be able to make their default short messaging communications hub — even if those services won’t use the open standard.

“I think that if Twitter decided to open and be part of an open protocol, that would be a very helpful thing for us,” said CEO Evan Prodromou. “And I think it would be really good for the web, too.” provides the “open Twitter” experience for the regular user. But if you want to take your micro-blogging independence to the next level, port your account into free, open-source StatusNet software running on your own server. Essentially, this means you can operate your own Twitter-like network, for free – either a general competitor to Twitter or a microblogging service focused on a specific niche. Examples include the German Bleeper, the Vietnamese Saigonica, and other Twitter-for-other-languages sites, as well as FLOSS (open-source community), TWiT Army (like a whole Twitter network for Leo LaPorte followers), a general interest micro-blogging network called F***Twitter.

For a real sense of the possibilities, imagine a million little Twitters — each of which can post to each other, as well as Twitter, Facebook, and everywhere else.

Prodromou, who built and, estimates that thousands of companies already use StatusNet to set up private, company-wide Twitter-like networks, and that hundreds of public sites like the ones mentioned above use it too. His own StatusNet implementation,, has nearly 80,000 users so far and is growing at a thousand users per day.

He plans to make money from this open-source software by offering it as a hosted service, so companies don’t have to run it from their own servers, and selling administrative services, so that companies don’t have to set it up or run it on their own.

Software developer Brian Hendrickson, who runs, a competitor to StatusNet, says Twitter represents a new, necessary protocol we didn’t even know we needed, but that it’s too tied to a single company. “[User] @danyork said ‘the popularity of microblogging shows us that we were missing a medium,’ and a year ago, a lot of us fans of web standards and technology could sense that Twitter would do what it did this spring: explode in popularity. As someone who has always self-hosted his own e-mail server, DNS server, web server, etc., it was obviously untenable to have every single microblogger in the world using the same web site. It’s unnatural.”

Other open, Twitter-like concepts are in the works: OpenMicroBlogger, Google’s pubsubhubbub, Dave Winer’s RSS Cloud and Anil Dash’s “Pushbutton Web.” If this trend towards open microblogging trend continues, in whatever form — and despite Twitter having seemingly every reason not to cooperate — it will no longer be possible to shut down micro-blogging with one or two concentrated attacks." (