One year ago a tongue-in-cheek alternative to Twitter appeared with the audacious goal of convincing users to tweet in 1,400 characters or more.
Woofer, as the site is called, never really caught on the way Twitter did. But perhaps what is most amazing is that some people actually still use it. Woofer posts, all tallied together, have exceeded 2 billion characters.
Woofer requires each "woof" to include a minimum of 1,400 characters, whereas Twitter limits each tweet to just 140.
As the folks behind Woofer advise, "Be eloquent. Use adverbs. DEA (don't ever abbreviate)." But they're also pretty brief about their affiliation, or lack thereof, with Twitter, saying "We are in no way associated with Twitter."
After one year, Woofer users have posted about 24,800 "woofs" for a total character count of 2.36 billion. That's approximately 95,000 characters per tweet, 68 times more than necessary to meet the 1,400-character minimum.
The total character count is impressive, but the Twitter founders shouldn't be worried. Twitter users are posting more than 55 million times per day.
The most prolific Woofer is "alkoga," with 672 woofs, more than double the nearest competitor. But after an early rush of "woofs" when the site began last year, activity has slowed down to a few handfuls of messages per day.
The Woofer creator, a venture called "Join the Company, LLC," has kept the Woofer servers running but may be losing interest in the site. The biggest ad on Woofer directs users to the company's other site "Shuffletime," but goes to a dead link.
While Woofer encourages verbosity, it won't allow users to write just anything. Texts with offensive words will not be posted. For example, if you attempt to post the entire text of Shakespeare's Macbeth, or F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, you'll receive the error message "No Woof. Be polite."
Join the Company also maintains a site called Squeaker, which requires every message to contain exactly 14 characters. This site has attracted more than 5,000 users who have posted more than 13,000 "squeaks."
Join the Company says it is still in stealth mode but claims to be "working on the Next Big Thing."