Cliqset launched a new version this morning that offers a very interesting answer to that question. Cliqset is a service that lets you publish and subscribe to 80 different social networks, from Twitter to YouTube to Delicious to Foursquare.
Long a proof of concept more than an app you'd use, Cliqset can be so forward-looking it hurts. Today's relaunch brings it closer than ever to making it my #1 choice for ways to interact with the river of news - in theory. The next few weeks should be even more exciting for Cliqset, with the introduction of an iPad version, Chrome desktop pop-ups and Facebook search integration. The service remains rough around the edges, but I sure love what the company is doing.
Cliqset used to be a lonely place, displaying only content from other people you knew who had signed up for Cliqset (not many). Now you can read anyone's Tweets through the service, and the interface for sorting, replying and watching conversations may be the most sophisticated we've seen yet.
For example, if a well-known person throws out a Tweet (or if you do) and it gets a number of replies, you can view that Tweet alone on a page in Cliqset, with replies to it streaming in below it, pushed to your browser in real time.
Previously, on Cliqset
Curation is beautifully implemented in Cliqset, it's easy to push any item into a curated stream that other people can subscribe to in real-time. That's really nice, and just cries out for iPad integration.
Right now the little company appears to be struggling under some launch-day traffic and its ambitious may never be realized if scalability remains a killer. There are also a number of little design considerations, though the site is very pretty, that seem unintuitive to this human user. Cliqset is warming up though, it feels less like the brilliant super-dork at a party that you can't have a conversation with every day.
The Future of Cliqset
Cross network, real-time streaming and curation? Sounds like something I want on my iPad. Sure enough, Cliqset says that's not a big stretch at all. An iPad style-sheet will be in place in a matter of weeks.
Likewise, the reason I stay with Tweetdeck for my work-Tweeting is because of the pop-up notifications for high-priority columns. Cliqset says the new Chrome HTML5 desktop notifications API is something it is working on and expects to implement soon.
Finally, how about some Facebook search? I don't understand why so few services have implemented search across not just Twitter but public Facebook messages as well. Neither does Cliqset, and the company says that's right around the corner as well.
Speaking of Tweetdeck, Cliqset says it is doing API work of its own that should enable Tweetdeck to serve up streams from 80 different social networks very soon. That sounds very cool, and like something that deserves its own coverage.
Cliqset is the most sophisticated, forward looking tool for stream reading on the internet today. It's also awkward, unstable, confusing and full of more potential than actualized usefulness. But that balance changes a little more with every iteration. You should check out Cliqset - sooner or later it could win you over.