Get Instant Answers via Tweet

I like the idea, but. This interesting, but. Wow this would be useful, but. I kept having these thoughts as I looked at Twuition at It’s a neat tool, BUT…

As you might have guessed from the title, Twuition is a Twitter tool. It’s an autoresponder that scans the tweetstream for specific hashtags and then responds to the twitterer directly. At the moment it can do five things, including find things near a given zip code (or city/state), provide a local weather report, and translate text.

To test it I sent a Tweet that included the hashtag #whatisthenationaldebt. And sure enough, a few minutes later I got back a tweet that read $12,300,163,248,044.69 with a link to an ad.

The response only took a few minutes, though perhaps that isn’t the most useful data point in the world — the ability to translate words and find things locally. I tested the find local things option and that worked well, except it took a little longer to get the results back — five minutes instead of three.

Now, I assume you’d use this tool as a local option — there’s no need to get this information via a Twitter hashtag exchange if you’re sitting at your computer. So I have to wonder: why these hashtags? I’m on my phone, which is not an iPhone and has a small keyboard. I’m riding on a bus, or sitting at a table at a restaurant, or walking down the street. You want me to type #twuitionlocation correctly on the first go? REALLY? I know it’s imperative that the hashtag be unique, but how about something like #twuiloco?

And sometimes the information you get back might not be as useful as it might be. When you ask for a map to locations, you get a Google map. Would it be possible to get a pointer to a mobile version? I mean, it seems that if I was using this service to avoid surfing the Web on my dinky screen, then I might want to get a pointer to a link that doesn’t look terrible on my dinky screen…

I think this is a cool idea. I can imagine some great applications. But I would find this pretty clumsy on my phone. Maybe the iPhone folks would like it better…

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