Making selling funding talking

June 7, 2008

Using Twitter as a command line (Tw00ts) is something that I’m keen on exploring- there’s a bunch of ideas in notebooks just waiting to be pulled into prototypes – but in the meanwhile here’s an example that I just threw together a couple of weeks ago.

Now, as a command line it’s syntax is pretty complex.

Let’s break it down.

First, it’s a mix of English, with bad grammar, mixed in with machine code, and using a currency which is timestamped.

Second, no license used. Attribution in username

Third, the arguments and methods:-

1. ‘Why’

Initiating the command by invoking a question. This pulls in the attention of the user base, acting as a single central processor funnel, thus maximizing on chances of a responding message.

2. Dont

Spelling mistake, but dropping the unnecessary characters acts as data compression.

start argument with a negative, to a tune to early adopters curiosity

3. we all

Maximise audience

4. just

this is not going to steal loads of time

5. Twitter

no need for www or .com

6. $2

respect to the location of the company

small amount, minor tip, about £1

major currency, easy to convert with twitter timestamp

7. to just

any improvement would be good

8. stable

Stabilizing is the preferred task, we would all guess


URI, data compressed

Now, using twitter as a command line with such soft parameters, the service would have to be a complex system, superior AI, and capable of setting off a bunch of processes.

Fortunately, Chris Reed picked up the message and processed the command line, in a way pretty much as expected from the syntax. Though in hindsight, I should have appended the command with some extra parameters. More on that in a mo, for now, have a look at the response message.

It’s pretty clear to read, so I can judge that something is about to happen.

And the solution looks simple.

Twitterfund, the actualization of the command line I sent into Twitter, is in itself a curious project. I think it raises so interesting questions.

1. what happens when the community raises money, with or witout strings attached, to better a service and become more attractive then Venture Capitalist’s funds?

2. when running a campaign like this, who should be it’s Guardian’s, or do we really need them if we are all visible on teh interwebs.

3. What if Twitter doesn’t take the money: what do we do with the shared fund? Is it worth using it elsewhere?

4. Will people use the fund?

Chris and I had a couple of emails back and forth before all this was set up. I was keen on TweetCharity as a domain name so that we could use this piece of media.

But using the word Charity opens a another bag of worms.

So TwitterFund was selected.

Next, who owns the paypal account. You know, it’s like who has the ‘God like’ system admin password. I was keen on the hunt of for the most trusted twitter user, suppose it would have ended up with someone like Scobe. But at present Chris is holding the fort on this.

The additional parameters I need to think about compressing into Tw00ts are about tone. What happens when a project using a suite of online tools come together? Chris has Twitter, a blog, a domain name, a paypal account all sync’d. Sweet. Making the components come together, making them sing is another thing. This is now about art direction in 140 characters.

Anyway, let’s see what happens with the fund.

Follow the project’s Twitter feed and send what you think of the project to @fund.

15 Responses to “Making selling funding talking”

  1. […] Zero influence — Making selling funding talking “… command line… syntax… Let’s break it down. #First, it’s a mix of English… mixed in with machine code, and using a currency which is timestamped. #Second, no license used. Attribution in username. #Third, the arguments and methods: …” literaryculturevsoralculture commandline crowdsourcing funding TwitterFund twitter […]

  2. atom Says:

    spilling mistake as data compression… like it 😀

  3. Andrew Says:


    wallet -= $bailout;
    $twitterfund += $bailout;

  4. Andrew Says:

    Woah, your blog killed my script.

  5. @andrew My blog haz strong kung foo

  6. @crosbie Good point, no idea. Badger Chris with the solution.

  7. I have brought this opportunity to microPledge’s attention. I daresay they’d be happy to hear from any would be champions who’d front a project and would consider microPledge as the funding mechanism. Chris Reed perhaps?

  8. @Crosbie.

    You’re spot on again.
    Would you say we’ll need press packs?

    I’ll ask Chris.

  9. I’ve asked Chris.

  10. Chris Reed Says:

    Hi all

    Just checked out micropledge – looks very good. Much better than PayPal for this sort of thing. will try and shift things across, probably tonight.

    Might also be worth mentioning that in between our original tweets and me putting the site up, Twitter announced $15M in VC funding – which is, as you’d expect, deterring a few potential donors to the fund…

    But micropledge opens another door I think. I’m increasingly interested in whether Twitter could run an ad-free, subscription-free business model just by accepting donations… Will explore that later on too. ZF – I’ll email you later.

  11. $15m should thus demonstrate the public value of an open/public version of Twitter.

    I am skeptical that the VCs will spend that sort of money on a p2p/distributed version of Twitter given the difficulties of retaining control over such a thing.

    I guess they have the domain name, and like Wikipedia, that may be all that’s needed – despite both the content and technology being public. It’s eyeballs all the way down.

    Anyway, this doesn’t prevent competition. :-\

  12. The core of your writing while appearing agreeable at first, did not sit well with me after some time. Someplace within the paragraphs you were able to make me a believer unfortunately just for a short while. I still have got a problem with your leaps in logic and one might do nicely to fill in all those breaks. If you actually can accomplish that, I will undoubtedly end up being impressed.

  13. I hardly comment, but i did a few searching and wound up here Making selling
    funding talking | Zero influence. And I actually
    do have a few questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be just me or does it appear like some of these remarks look like they are left by brain dead people? 😛 And, if you are posting on other social sites, I would like to keep up with anything fresh you have to post. Could you make a list of all of all your community sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

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