New to Apps: Torrent Discussions with Torrent Tweet

Today we’re releasing Torrent Tweet – the latest entry into our Apps ecosystem. Torrent Tweet is a Twitter-based system for following and contributing to discussions relating to individual torrents. Tweets are indexed with an automatically generated hashtag unique to each torrent file. Find out what people are saying about torrents you are downloading and sign in to a Twitter account to contribute to the discussion.

Like uMap and several other Apps, Torrent Tweet is an optional app that we developed in-house at BitTorrent Inc. We continue to be excited about the possibilities of using Apps to mashup popular web services with some of the fundamentals of BitTorrent.

In this case we are relying on the fact that torrents are indexed not by file name but by infoshash, a  digital fingerprint of a file. While you might find the same torrent on dozens of different torrent sites, and get pieces of the associated file from thousands of different peers, ultimately, you can be sure that you’re going to get the torrent you want, not something that shares the same file name.

The infohash is a key foundation of BitTorrent – referring to content by digital fingerprint rather than just a file name is a powerful way of referring to something. Its like referring to a person by referencing their fingerprints rather than just their name. There are many people in the world called “Simon Morris,” but my fingerprints are unique.

The point of Torrent Tweet is to adapt the powerful referencing system built into BitTorrent to the incredible social interaction engine that Twitter has built such that people can have conversations about things they are downloading, and they can be sure that they are talking about the same thing.

Now of course this system has some limitations in that there’s no way of knowing whether someone is telling the truth, but that is the case in all social interactions. In some important way the wisdom of crowds can give you some rough gauge of how likely something is to be true. Our objective with Torrent Tweet is to link torrents with Twitter conversations and see if something useful evolves.

We hope that torrent sites will adopt our convention of referring to torrents using a shortened hashtag prefixed with “#bt” and enhance comments systems that already exist on torrent sites so that discussions can be accessed and propagated there and everywhere that Twitter is available.

- Simon -

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