Twitter’s Suggested User List is the source of much controversy. But the rationale behind it is sound, even if the execution isn’t: It’s a way to bundle users that may be interesting to follow together. A new service called TweepML takes the idea and gives it to the masses.
Basically, if you’ve ever used an OPML file to bundle together feeds in your RSS reader, you’ll understand the concept immediately. TweepML takes a bunch of Twitter users that you choose, bundles them together, and allows you to share that bundle with whomever you choose. When the person on the receiving end loads up the bundle, they will be following all the people you suggested.
A good use case for this is for individual blogs. Here’s TechCrunch’s TweepML, for example. If you click on that link, you’ll see a bunch of us TechCrunch writers are selected for you to follow. You can individually uncheck any of us as well. You then sign in with your Twitter credentials below that list and you will be following those users. Oddly, TweepML opts not to use Twitter’s popular OAuth authentication system and instead has you sign in on their own site. But it promises that once it follows the users you’ve selected, it “forgets your password forever.”
TweepML, the service, is launching today with a couple partners, including Twitter grouping service Twibes and Twitter sound bite service Chir.ps. They also claim to have support from OneRiot, Gnip, Gist and others. It’s a good idea, executed in a simple enough manner that it could just work.
TweepML, the format, promises to be extensible and open so others are free to use it as well. It’s based on simple XML, and Calbucci hopes that sites start making it a standard by implementing it and including .tml files on their servers for visitors to access.