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Microsyntax-aware input on Twitter Mockup | by remyrakic
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Microsyntax-aware input on Twitter Mockup

The core behind microsyntaxes is adding semantics to tweets, acting upon those semantics, and using the tweets to perform actions and commands (or more correctly request actions to be performed).


Chris Messina's slashtags (incorrectly called slashertags in the mockup, how silly, the slasher is the slash delimiter) and Aral Balkan's twitterformats are the 2 promising initiatives I decided to focus on.


A lot of the microsyntax proposals at, some of the slashtags, and a couple twitterformats, add semantics thanks to metadata, and while I feel metadata should be hidden from the users most of the time, I'm fine with having it inside the text until Twitter offers this kind of feature (which they supposedly will do to allow comments on new-style retweets). These 2 microsyntaxes have the advantages of being usable right now, documented, practical, etc. The majority of the twitterformats are on the other hand meant to be commands and actions, directed at users (this is obvious) but also at their clients themselves, allowing a level of automation that will become even more powerful when the planned 10x rate increase on API calls becomes effective.


This is a mockup of how a client could support those 2 microsyntaxes.


I thought an interaction like the one seen in Ubiquity (since those syntaxes rely on markers or verbs) would offer great benefits, both for discoverability purposes and with assistance using the microsyntaxes. The first features that came to mind were marker recognition, inline documentation and examples, and a preview of what your followers would receive — provided they used a microsyntax-aware client of course.


I'd love to get some feedback. You can find me at

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Taken on December 15, 2009