Instant Messaging as the Web’s Terminal Command Line

I use IMified a lot lately. It’s basically an instant messenger interface to a variety of web services including Google Calendar, a variety of blog platforms, and task list managers among others. Recently they even added twitter!

I use Remember The Milk for my task list management combined with the indespensible Remember the Milk Widget (for macs) and import that into iCal to cover all my bases. I can easily add tasks to this using IMified. You can also define short cuts for easy access instead of going through a cascade of selections to trigger actions. For me, I define all short cuts as a number of ”/”s instead of giving it a short name like “rtm” because it saves typing and can easily become a reflex.

I usually twitter from Twitterific since it’s easily accessible from the menu bar but I could twitter from my IM if I’m already chatting.

Twitter is the new IM suited for a web savvy culture. It’s like a party room or a web-based IRC open to non-geeks and on a global scale. If you overhear an interesting conversation, just join in or if you’re seeking attention blurt something out.

So where’s that leave IM? Sure it’s a great middle of the road solution between getting on the phone and email but what’s there to guarantee the other person’s online or really wants to chat? A lot of times chat will be running for hours if not days with little to no activity. Otherwise I’d be too distracted to do anything.

Twitter can be the “new IM” and IM can be the new command line. Why bother with the command line in a 2.0 world? Just like hardcore geeks and programmers start gravitating toward the command line, the more intensely you use something the more you want to cut through the junk. Do you really need to be clicking through an endless stream of links and images just to do one thing? Just like experienced programmers can move files around and do a whole slew of stuff quicker by typing a variety of shortcuts into a text terminal, experience web users want more power.

The IM is a wonderful platform to serve as the web’s command line simply because it’s universally available to many web users. For example, if I want to add something to my task list, I start a chat with IMified and type ”/ add this task” and that’s it instead of clicking the RTM book mark, another tab, and then typing the message and submit. Much quicker.

I can definitely see more “command line” type controls becoming prevalent for power users as AJAX & Flash narrow the gap in the eye candy department.

Categories: web