Yup, the rumors are true. TweetChat will be soon be rolling up its platform and closing shop as a result of the Internet Media Labs acquisition announced this morning.

IMLs SmartStream has officially gobbled up the TweetChat worm and the only thing left is to drink the tequila.

Chat moderators have reason to celebrate, though, instead of cry. Not only is SmartStream going to remain free, but it is a far more robust tool than the simple freebie ever was – even including a free ability to save a transcript of the chat.

From the oneQube blog… ‘ “There have always been requests to take the concept to the next level, and I am excited for the role oneQube’s SmartStream will play in filling this gap,” said TweetChat Founder Brooks Bennett, who agreed to sell the site understanding the application would be shut down and the community migrated to #SmartStream.’

Evidently, Bennett never intended to grow the tool beyond where it has been for the last four years. June 10th will be the last day for TweetChat – which will relaunch the next day as some sort of content hub for Twitter chats and hashtags. Personally – being the #SoMe addict that I am – I can’t wait to see it.

I’ve been using SmartStream for about three weeks and, outside of a few development glitches expected from a beta tool, I’m really liking it so far.

So what the heck is going on with the whole Twitter Jail thing?!

I wouldn’t consider myself an excessively heavy Twitter user, but I do send anywhere from 50-100 tweets a day – which doubles when I’m moderate or participate in a chat. So why is it that I can barely be four tweets into a chat when BOOM! I’m in jail! What the heck?

Twitter is definitely having issues, and I’m hoping – nay, praying – that SmartStream might be the answer.

There’s nothing quite like launching a chat with some fantastic guest, only to be suddenly blocked with 403 Forbidden error codes popping up. What?! How can I hit an update limit when I haven’t even started the chat! Talk about an instant heart attack…

It started with the April #PRSA New Pro chat, where I was a guest chatting about digital PR. Tweets were flying at a ridiculous rate with smoke pouring out my fingers when…. typing in THE LAST TWEET… I was in jail. No bail, no “get out of jail free” card – just clanging bars and I was done. So I emailed a colleague who happened to be in the chat and she posted my last tweet. Okay, maybe it’s a one time thing. #scratchinghead

Nope. A week later, I was just starting the May #PRprochat on SEO For PR, and it happened again! This time, I was barely starting. Thank heavens for friends! Social Media Manager Lisa Larranaga Denten from Cision jumped in and saved the day, posting tweets that I emailed her.

What a disaster!! Not only did I miss the entire chat on one of my all-time favorite topics, but I wasted half the day digging around for a solution with no luck. And, to totally frost my cake of pure frustration, Twitter didn’t even bother responding to their own Twitter handle, @TwitterAPI. Nice.

Since then, it’s happened four more times.

My solution for the next time I end up in jail? Using a new back-up Twitter handle on a secondary computer. But isn’t it ridiculous to not have an easier solution? SmartStream, please rescue us. Then the round of tequila will be on me. #fingerscrossed

How are you getting outta jail? I would love to know.