The WITIBot Edition
On SMS, interesting links, and fun experiments
Noah here. This week there’s been no shortage of talk about Twitter and where people are going to go if it falls over. I personally think that’s pretty unlikely, but I also think we mostly know the answer to that question, and it’s not Mastodon. It’s still most likely Twitter, but critically it’s also Discord, Slack, Whatsapp, and all the places where so many of us have already moved so much of our time and attention. The migration to these more narrow services has been born out of the desire, at least amongst some of us, to return to an earlier-feeling version of the web and social media where conversations were more free-flowing and debates could be had without death threats.1
One of the reasons we’ve put renewed energy into paid subscriptions is to stand up WITI Discord (which you should join if you're a paid WITI subscriber). Over the last few years, I’ve found tons of enjoyment in these more selective networks, and I think we can make something special.
The other thing I’m interested in is trying to do some more community experiments. The selective nature of the network makes this possible. To that end, I’m excited to announce a fun little prototype I’ve been hacking around on this week that I’m tentatively calling WITIBot (better names welcome). It started as just a little foray in tying together some services like Twilio and Airtable, but then quickly took on a life of its own.
The idea is simple: send a text to +12182978183, and it will send you back a link. Well, first, it will ask you for your email, but then it will send you back a link.
Where it starts getting fun is some of the additional functionality for paid subscribers. In addition to being able to continually use the service (the first link is free for non-paid subscribers), it also allows you to submit your own links that it will share with the network. To make that work, you’ve got to verify you actually own the email you said was yours, which we handle with a little link that gets emailed to you. Once that happens, you can send in links, add blurbs, and even set your initials, and those shared links will also go out to requesters. I’ll be keeping an eye on things to make sure they don’t get out of hand, but the fact you have to be a paid subscriber is also a pretty good safety mechanism, I suspect.
Anyway, give it a try, and if you’re a paid subscriber (and interested), I’ll dive into how I made it all work.
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