Twitter is to Communication as MOA is to Integration

Nov 09, 2011

I know this is somewhat contrary to my previous post on how I think Twitter is Dead, but my colleague Glenn Korban and I had a brain twister of an idea for using Twitter.

We use Message Oriented Architectures to to publish/subscribe real-time data transfers between systems.  It's a proven pattern for integration that works really well.  Instead of having a process extract data from one system, process it and push it to another system, we use message queues to have the source system PUBLISH events to a message queue and then subscribers can listen for messages and process them as they wish.  Shawn Simon talks a lot about this in his blog posts (as he is our Enterprise Integration expert).

The idea for Twitter is, we could use this for communication between individuals in the same way MOA works for integration between systems.

Here is a simple example from our development world.  Let's say you have a development team of 10 people, plus a Technical Architect, plus a Project Manager, plus a Business Analyst, plus a team of 3 Quality Assurance people.  There is a lot of communication that needs to happen on an hourly basis to get the project to a successful conclusion.  The PM is always behind asking people for status of their tasks.  The team is always asking the TA and BA for direction.  The BA is always looking out for issues that he/she needs to solve w/ the client based on detailed requirements.

Enter Twitter ... imagine this chaotic world where every person on the team is prompted to enter a tweet every 1 or 2 hours.  What they are working on, what they are stuck on, what information they are waiting for, who they are waiting to hear back from (both client for requirements AND Technical Architect for direction).  Other team members can SUBSCRIBE to their teammate's tweets to keep up to date on things.

PM no longer needs to ASK for status.  TA is immediately notified when a team member is stuck.  BA knows when people are waiting on him/her for requirements.

My PM colleague, Minh Le thinks this might be a little too "Big Brother"ish.  There is some truth to that.  I agree this concept is not fully thought through :)

Maybe there are other applications for the same Publish/Subscribe communication paradigm that Twitter presents and maybe this will give Twitter some decent staying-power as a communciation medium.