Updating your social websites status from inside Second Life


If, like myself, you have no time and patience to keep updating all your dozens of social websites — from Twitter to Plurk to Facebook to FriendFeed, to your status on MySpace, Plaxo, Friendster, LinkedIn, or whatever becomes big next — you have certainly faced the following problem: you’re in SL, there is something you positively wish to tell, but all your friends and acquaintances are all over those websites. And to reach them all, you need to log in to 12 or 20 different sites, or install dozens of applications, all at the same time juggling with SL swallowing up all your CPU and memory.

A mess!

Fortunately, at least two services have been around to help you out. The first one that was launched was Ping.fm, and recently came out of beta. The other one is HelloTxt. Both do pretty much the same thing. You log in to any one of those, and “connect” it to your multiple websites. Then you just send a message to them, and it will update your status on all of them, smoothly and peacefully, and don’t need to bother to ever log again to your myriad sites — let your friends and acquaintances follow you on the one they prefer 🙂

Ping.fm seems to be the more “mature” of the two (it has also more options and has been along for longer), although it currently has two limitations: you can only post 3 times per minute, and I don’t know how long it takes to get an approval for an application key (I’m waiting! And… Ping.fm’s team might consider that a SL-to-Ping.fm gateway is not interesting at all, so they might just discard my application for a developer key). I am doing some tests, but I can’t release it for the public.

HelloTxt, as “the new kid on the block”, is a bit more developer-friendly. They are still in beta, as said, and developing applications for it is still in beta, too. But… there is a trick. Everybody can register for an application key, although you cannot “share” yours with others. However, you can ask people to register themselves for an application key, and use that application key for a “new” application!

So how this works is easy. First, you register for HelloTxt. Then you add all your social websites and connect HelloTxt to them. Finally, you register for an application key. Once you get it (it takes seconds!), you can use it into my device, the GUUD HelloTxt Gateway HUD. That’s all 🙂 Once you instruct the HUD to use your application key and your user key, you can start microblogging like crazy (HelloTxt has no timeouts and no limitations on how many messages you send per minute).

There is, of course, a caveat: calling HelloTxt’s API from within SL currently fails — it doesn’t recognise the Content-Type that LL sends. LL clearly states that they are not going to change the way their calls are made to the outside world — so it’s up to the developer (yours truly) to develop a “gateway” that accepts LL’s way of calling things, translates it into correct HTTP calls to HelloTxt, and pushes the result back to SL. That’s what I’ve done with this very simple HUD 🙂

Alas, using my own webserver means that people can abuse the system — my server, that is, and this will make my service provider very unhappy. So I’m afraid I have no other option but to charge for the service. Well, at L$100, if you’re a keen microblogger, I’m sure you’ll be able to afford it — it’s not as if you’ll have to forfeit buying new clothes or a home in the next 15 years 🙂

Have fun! And I’ll be hopefully releasing a Ping.fm version soon (that is, if Ping.fm allows me to do so), because it allows more cute features, and supports far more social websites than HelloTxt does.

Full instructions for the HUD follow after the break.

You can buy it easily from XstreetSL, or if you don’t trust web-based shops, you can buy it in-world too:

GUUD @ Ravenglass Rentals Pharos Store, Ross

GUUD @ Colonia Nova Forum, Colonia Nova, Confederation of Democratic Simulators

At my own home (on the roof!)

Enjoy 🙂

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