Examining Twinkle for the iPhone

Twinkle - Home

An interesting new iPhone Twitter client appeared within the development community over the weekend. It’s called Twinkle, and while there’s no official homepage for it, there is (naturally) a Twitter account.

The interface is clean, although it’s a little hard to read while you’re walking due to what looks like an 8pt font. But as for why it’s interesting:

Twinkle - Near Me

Twinkle is (through what is undoubtedly some interesting magic) using the iPhone location APIs to geolocate the messages sent through it. It also allows for pictures to be attached.

Curiously, unlike other attempts to add geographic metadata to Twitter, none of this information is stored within the Twitter message. (You can see this on the web version of the message pictured above.) Twinkleking has mentioned that the pictures are being stored on his/her/their web server, and I would assume the geolocation data is being similarly shadowed.

Twinkle - Post

While I’m not crazy about shadow systems like this, Twinkle does work terribly well at what it intends to do – it’s a very natural enhancement to the Twitter experience.

It also gets me thinking that, between this and some of the other technologies people have tried to shoehorn into Twitter, that Twitter itself may want to consider providing some sort of extensibility to their base message model. Being able to add machine-readable metadata to any tweet, much like the machine tags on Flickr, would allow for all sorts of useful enhancements without breaking the core model.