UPDATE: this afternoon, Brennan sent me a refreshed Weeeble page that contains ideas closer to the vision presented in this article. A screenshot of this can be found on the bottom of this page. Check your Weeeble status at http://weeeble.com/YourTwitterName.
Brennan Novak’s avatar of him dressed in fake moustache may be the first good indicator as to exactly when and where I first met him: at a Makerlab Sunday Hack Session at the IGLOO gallery; so when he tweeted me several weeks ago and said to test a side project of his out, I was sure that it’s going to be something delightfully unexpected.
This was exactly what Weeeble, now in development, had demonstrated. The app was born out of a series of observations: Twitter user uses speech pattern to speak to one another (for example: feel good, drinking green tea, eating portobello sandwich, listening to The Police.) Weeeble sought to look for these keywords, parse them, store them, then display them as part of your profile.
But isn’t this an old idea, you ask? You’re right. Role Playing Games have been using such concepts from its inception in the form of status screen.
If you’re not familiar with this concept, a status screen shows you the current standing of the character you’re currently playing with: her strength, defense, equipped weapon, and so on. Sounds a little bit like a social network’s profile page, doesn’t it?
Except that informations on a profile page are classically thought of, and are usually designed to be static. This isn’t wrong. After all, static information helps determine credibility.
But another metric of the same that we often forget is the dynamics of information. We all know, for instance, that blogs that are updated very often (ie. not Link En Fuego) tends to be more reputable than those that are not.
Of course, there’s also a problem with consuming dynamic information: they don’t have a universal standard. Well, duh, you said, isn’t that exactly the point of having a dynamic information? You’re right. But this means that consuming dynamic information is going to require significantly more effort on your end.
For example: on a profile page, you would have constantly recurring fields like username, full name, bio, email address and telephone number. On a blog, you’re free to have whatever tags and categories you want. All the feed going to give your RSS reader is the post title, content, categories and publication date.
Now, wouldn’t it would be nifty if we could combine the recurring fields of one, and the dynamic contents of the other?
You know, just like a game’s status screen, where the value of items change all the time (ie. strength +2, dexterity +4.) but the properties of the value itself doesn’t?
This is where Weeeble comes in:
Weeeble […] parses your Twitter feed and looks for the usage of certain keywords […] then saves all your Tweets into nice categories…
Weeeble currently indexes things like feeling, music, food, drink, location and Twitter users you’re currently with:
But I Don’t See All The Features You’re Talking About Yet!
Weeeble is still in a very early stage of development, and this article looks more like a dissection and feature wishlist for it rather than a proper review (Weeble-Shizzow integration, anyone?) I hope that its developer could benefit from early exposure, use and suggestion that I and others will provide.
Here’s how it looks like at the moment.
Want Your Side Project Covered?
I believe that Portland’s abundance of little side projects that developers do because they love it, is part of what makes our creative/tech scene unique. To this end, I’m always on the lookout for your ideas. Bother me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let’s set something up.