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The Slashtag: Let's Be Global, People

[cross posted from /Message]

A new trend in microsyntax is spreading across the tech-end of the Twitter community. This is the use of so-called 'slashtags' to set off certain syntax elements of natural language for presumed easier understanding.


Slashtags, at least for the examples where they are generally used, are simply preceding parts of speech, words, or acronyms that are understandable based on natural language and written conventions. For example

This is history. via @barackobama cc @gregarious @themaria #election2008

isn't significantly less understandable than the slashtagged alternative

This is history. /via @barackobama /cc @gregarious @themaria #election2008

In fact, this example also increases the number of characters in the tweet, which isn't horrible, but isn't good either.

I also feel that the use of '/' puts too much stress on these little propositions, and detracts from the other aspects of the tweet.

More importantly, the notion than '/via', '/by', and '/cc' are some sort of microsyntax keywords that hypothetical applications could use to mine interesting information patterns from the twitter stream leads to a basic problem: it's English, folks. These are English words and conventions.

We should certainly lean toward potentially internationalized microsyntax when we can. That's one reason that '@username' is good microsyntax, because we used '@username' and not '/to username'. Likewise, that's why '#foodpron' is good, and '/keyword foodpron' isn't. '@' and "#' meet the test of short and global.

[read the entire piece.]


Open Mobile Health Exchange

In November we announced Open Mobile Health Exchange as a project. During the next few weeks, OMHE will be rehosting some of their activities to this new website. More to follow.

Click to read more ...


Messifesto 2010:

[Coming soon]



I am moving the blog onto this new blogging platform (Squarespace) to take advantage of a higher degree of potential social interaction that it offers, and to consolidate the blog and wiki that were set up in 2009. I found the two part arrangement to be more confusing that helpful.

As a result I have done the following:

  1. The 2009 blog has been moved to the a sidebar item, here, called '2009 Blog'. The old comments -- they were implemented on Disqus -- have been shut down, but the native Squaresoft comments will be active.
  2. The 2009 Microsyntax Wiki contributions has been repartitioned into various sections of the new Contributions section (in the sidebar). [In process.]
  3. I have added a forum, so that anyone can join threads on different topics, or start new ones.
  4. Lastly, the Squaresoft technology makes it easy for me to grant limited editing capabilities to others. So if you would like to submit a contribution to one of the blogs please register here.