Will Prologue bring the Twitters back?

I bumped into Tom Raftery in Cork Airport on my way to Arizona. As luck would have it, we were both on the same flight to London, although he was going to Munich for a conference.
Unfortunately we weren’t sitting near each other on the plane but in the airport he said he spends more time in Twitter than reading blogs. That came as a surprise to me, but I’m sure it’s happening to many other busy people too.

That’s one reason I’m excited about Prologue, the new Twitter-like theme for WordPress. Automattic is already using it internally as a private discussion tool and for a group of disparate people spread all over the globe it’s a really useful tool to find out at a glance what each of us is up to.

Tom lives and breathes social media all day long. I’ll have to ping him on Twitter to read this and get some feedback from him!

I’m already thinking it might be an easy way to introduce blogging, social media and networking and Twitter to some of my non-blogging friends who slave away in offices all day long. Set up a private blog on WordPress.com, activate the Prologue Theme and invite them all on as contributors. They probably use RSS aware browsers too so keeping up to date on what’s happening should be a simple task.

Prologue is a perfect fit for WordPress MU too. You’ve already got many users who probably chat on your support forums. Let’s get our thinking caps on and create some sort of group blogs so people can converse right within the blogging environment!

Interested? Download the theme and play with it. It’s GPLed. Also, keep an eye on Joseph and Matt who will be updating the theme.

Finally, Matt describes Prologue really well:

Prologue was designed for something different—easily setting up and sharing a dialogue within a fixed group. It puts aside the standard “behind the scenes” method of blogging and makes the act of posting part of the experience. It creates a kind of archived and searchable conversation, like an IM window that’s archived, taggable, and accessible from any web browser.

13 thoughts on “Will Prologue bring the Twitters back?

  1. Donncha
    I also spend a lot of time on Twitter these days(though I wouldn’t say more than blogs just yet), and that interface/service/application definitely has something. Which made the release of Prologue pretty exciting for me. The fact that it provides you with a way of following people and making them part of your network rather simply is quite powerful. In my mind, one of the most useful ways to think about Prologue is as a more public space within a WPMu installation where users can both update their status and feed in a link to their latest blog posts. Which would capitalize on the network building part of such a theme/application. The Author sidebar registration plugin for WPMu might be key here.

    Another thought is that the Twitter interface shows posts consecutively, so that you can scroll through conversations and fragments on one or more pages. Getting any sense of conversations or fragments in Prologue is a bit more difficult because you have to click on the author’s name to see all their posts. I can see the use of both styles, but giving the option for a long scroll of posts in Prologue might make this theme even more versatile. As always, great stuff from the WP crew.

  2. Andrew – the simplest way would be for a group of like-minded individuals or people who work on a particular project, or in your case, perhaps a class, or faculty staff, to get together and simply create a blog and organically build it up.
    On a more formal basis, a figure of authority creates a blog and adds people to the blog.

    Jim – Joseph is already ahead of you. He says you’ll like the new stream format. I see “Next page” links on our internal Prologue blog! 🙂

  3. Donncha – It would be ideal if these blogs could be classified as “group blogs”. What are your thoughts on adding a new field to wp_blogs that would specify the blog type? Everything else could be added via plugins unless you think this is something that would be of use to a large number of people and therefore better off packaged with wpmu.

  4. There probably isn’t any need for another field in wp_blogs. I’m sure it could be handled by adding a new table to list group blogs, if required. The theme’s function.php could possibly store the code required.

  5. Mike – yes, that’s an oldy but a goody. Some people just don’t have a clue 🙂

    (We now return you to our regular programming of WP comments after that brief but humorous interlude)

  6. It is a great idea. Another great idea would be to integrate a conversation in a post (or page?) I am thinking aloud here. You see, I run a Manchester United blog and I get reasonable number of people crowding into my site, especially on matchdays. I also do have a fair amount of registered users who could now join a discussion on this twitter like thread instead of using comments. I don’t know how this would work, but if it had an auto refresh functionality as well, it could have lots of potential as far as live blogging (multi user) goes.

    Just my thoughts – what do you think?

  7. I like it, but find it restrictive for my pourposes.
    Would be very good for me if it could:
    a) handle more than 15 team members (maybe an ability to set max users to display – based on latest post?)

    b) More importantly, more than one group?

    I suppose what I’m really after is a way to have a fully fledged chat type plugin, with multiple rooms or channels?

    That would be fantastic for making WP a ‘Social’ platform, especially with WP-MU. 😉

    – Vince

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