Over on identi.ca, that is.
Some of you may remember me mentioning the incredible utility of a service that used to be offered by Twitter called “track”. The short summary is that it basically allowed sent you (in real time, via a chat interface) “tweets” containing keywords that you were interested in hearing about. This opened up all sorts of possibilities for real-time search and conversation discovery, adding tremendous value to the large pool of data flowing through the system by making it available to everyone regardless of any “follow” relationship.
A while back, Twitter disabled this feature as a part of an effort to stop their servers from crashing all the time. As they recovered and re-engineered, they gradually re-enabled some of the features that they had turned off, but this particular one never really came back.
The need was partially fulfilled by Summize (which was eventually acquired by Twitter and became Twitter Search), but it was missing the interface that made track so addictive and useful, so TwitterSpy stepped in and bridged that particular gap.
Now it appears that @dustin has put together an XMPP gateway into the identi.ca network to meet the same needs, only this time hooked into what appears to be the more robust, built-for-scaling backbone of identi.ca.
In addition, this service also has the
(not yet public) ability to post between systems as well (Twitter and identi.ca, specifically), potentially offering a bridge between worlds that is very promising.
I’m trying to steer clear a bit from too many technical details of what that all means, so here’s the simple run down on how to start using track in identi.ca
Assuming you have an identi.ca account and have enabled IM access for it (see the identi.ca site for instructions on this part), add firstname.lastname@example.org to your buddy list in your Jabber chat client (GTalk, Pidgin, etc.).
I was going to create a numbered list of instructions, but it’s so simple that that’s the only step. Message this user with “help” to see a list of commands and get started tracking!