Twitter, in my humble opinion, is great for 3 things – aggregating news, following what my friends are up to and complaining about stuff.
Of course, everyone’s agenda is different, but what remains the same are the standard limitations set by Twitter – messages of 140 characters delivered one of two ways, publically via mentions or privately via Direct Messaging.
Each of these methods have their place and until now, seem to have worked just fine. However, there’s been a lot of noise this week about a new application that brings the world of instant messaging to Twitter, suggesting it’s something we’ve all been desperately missing.
This application comes in the form of Bonfire, a free tool that can be downloaded as an extension for Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers and allows you to chat privately, in real-time with your Twitter friends, much in the same way as Facebook chat. It even alerts you to which of your friends are online via a little green light.
A lot of people seem very excited about Bonfire, but I’m not convinced.
Firstly, there’s nothing revolutionary about what Bonfire’s offering and there isn’t exactly a shortage of real-time chat tools out there already.
Secondly, my Twitter stream is noisy enough already without the added buzz of real-time chat alerts.
Most importantly, Bonfire only works in conjunction with www.twitter.com, which is an instant turn-off, in my opinion. I can’t remember the last time I tweeted from the web, especially while sat behind a computer and I’m guessing I’m not alone.
Unless Bonfire can eventually adapt to work with third party and mobile Twitter applications, it will hitting a less than inspiring demographic. Numerous studies have revealed that the amount of people who actually access Twitter via the official website is significantly less than those who use third party and/or mobile applications.
Only time will tell how Bonfire is accepted by the masses, and indeed how Twitter reacts to the service. Who knows, they might even buy it, a la TweetDeck.
Currently Bonfire’s servers seem to be struggling to keep up with demand, so at the time of writing I wasn’t able to access the service. If you want to give it a go, visit bonfire.im.