Idea: Thrashtags

A single yellow smiley face in a sea of blue frowny facesThe primary reason why I prefer to share my status updates on Facebook instead of Twitter is the ability to have “threaded conversations”. That is, Facebook’s comment functionality helps neatly group together friends’ comments and replies to my post, as opposed to Twitter, where any and all messages are independent Tweets in their own right.

The hashtag emerged as Twitter’s way of identifying similar conversation topics (I won’t explain what they are here; if you don’t know but would like to find out, check out this Twitter help page), but they aggregate messages from everybody that’s talking about the same thing. What if you wanted to have a very conversation with a specific group of people?

Introducing the Thrashtag (thread hashtag): a uniquely generated hashtag that allows you to conduct, identify and track specific conversation threads within Twitter.

The core concept is best explained using another tool from the Twitterverse – Shortened URLs are assigned a unique “hash key” – in the form of a sequence of random letters and numbers (e.g. 2bYgqR) appended to the end of the domain name (e.g. Similarly, the Thrashtag service generates a unique hash (e.g. #2bYgqR) for use in Tweets, which allows conversations to be uniquely identified (“Thrashed”). Also like, Thrashtags can be assigned to a registered user, who is designated the “conversation starter” (a “Thrasher”).

The key here is not building Yet Another Twitter Client. Rather, the objective is to build a database of Thrashers/Thrashtag pairs and provide an API allowing developers to incorporate Thrashtag functionality into their own clients. The goal is to refine the idea of being able to have threaded conversations on Twitter and explore what value that would bring to the overall microblogging experience.