Dan Blake from Harkness Labs – who is working on far more projects at the same time than he could possibly tell me about in just one conversation – recently filled me in on his latest Twitter-related venture, TinyPetition.
Basically, Blake is looking to address the apparent need for a tool that allows the many opinionated people that inhabit Twitterland to voice their concerns about anything that gets their hearts pumping: a digital petition engine that can quickly spread online thanks to the viral nature of Twitter and the concept of retweeting in particular.
We've already seen Twitition pop up, most recently for aggregating opinions from Twitter users on the iPhone 3G S upgrade prices AT&T is going to charge. So far, that service has racked up 41800 signatures for 730 topics. TinyPetition, in contrast, has only soft-launched its website so far and stands at about 5800 signatures for only 5 petitions. Still, Blake thinks he can eventually overtake Twitition, which prompts the question how he intends to do so.
Well for one, Blake has access to an existing user base of millions he could potentially draw from, as he also happens to be the guy behind this website called PetitionSpot, one of the most popular online petition services in the world. It's a good start: PetitionSpot boasts about 4 million registered users (although Blake says it's more like 2 million who have actively shared petitions since the site's inception) and these are all people who have already expressed their interest in signing digital petitions, obviously. We'll see how far this gets TinyPetition further down the line.
I've set up a test petition (unsurprisingly, about our quest to have Facebook management reconsider their policy on Holocaust denial groups), which you can find at tinypetition.com/facebookholocaust. Here's my tweet about it, which I've shared from the TinyPetition website (something seems to have gone wrong with it).