Twitter has announced a new method of interaction, which they are calling @anywhere. It will allow us to tweet or follow a new user directly from a participating website – up till now, these have involved using either the API via a third-party application, or visiting the Twitter.com webpage.
Initial participating sites will include Amazon, AdAge, Bing, Citysearch, Digg, eBay, The Huffington Post, Meebo, MSNBC.com, The New York Times, Salesforce.com, Yahoo!, and YouTube.
When I started using Twitter, I loved that it was flat – you could follow anyone you found interesting and they could follow you – or not – if they felt the same way. Of course that started to change, notably when Suggested User Lists started shepherding new users towards the accounts of established celebrities (which, as has been pointed out elsewhere, destroyed follower count as a useful index like Google’s Pagerank).
Imagine being able to follow a journalist directly from her byline, tweet about a video without leaving YouTube, and discover new Twitter accounts while visiting the Yahoo! home page—and that’s just the beginning.
It sounds fun! But I’m particularly excited by how this will spice up TV viewing. Event Television viewing has been revolutionised over the last year or so by the public backchannel that is Twitter – hashtags have allowed strangers to debate, discuss (and perhaps mainly lark about with) live TV such as BBC Question Time (#bbcqt) or Britain’s Got Talent (#bgt).
Such behaviour (along with more sophisticated multiplatform conceptions) have led to a trend towards “2 screen” viewing.But with the BBC this week announcing its ID system will be compatible with OpenID and other distributed authentication systems (OpenID, Facebook Connect, OAuth); at least two channels to date simulcasting over the Web; and web-style ‘widgets’ coming to the box in the living room (from a variety of directions!), will people still need 2 Screens?