Eric Stewart: Running Off At The Mouth

Tweetboard: Threading Twitter Tweets

by Eric Stewart on Jun.27, 2009, under The Internet

Okay.  I’m beginning to think that I blog way too much about Twitter, but I guess that’s because it’s my newest geek fascination and there’s always something to say about it.

Today’s Trending Topics on Twitter included people attempting to sign up for the alpha of Tweetboard.  The website says: “Tweetboard is True Twitter Conversation for your website.”  Signing up to use it right now involves crafting a tweet which refers to @140ware and your website.  Once your account is established, you add a call to some javascript to your page(s) and you end up with a “pop out tab” (providing my account is still valid and I’ve decided to continue using this service, you should see something on the left side of the web page here) that, when clicked, pops out your list of tweets – in a threaded format.  This way, any replies to a tweet of yours, instead of getting lost (if you don’t follow the individual or if you tweet a lot) can be viewed as they relate to your original tweet.  If people sign in to Twitter through the Tweetboard app and reply to your tweets there (actually, it doesn’t have to be a reply – a normal tweet can be tweeted via the Tweetboard app), a special URL is appended to the tweet that opens your website with the Tweetboard app out and the thread in question selected (non-replies still pop the Tweetboard out – so you can “start a thread” and people will see it).  People participating in the thread show up independent of their follow status with anyone involved.

Here’s a quick example of why this can be useful:

If you really wanted to comment on a blog posting of mine, but didn’t want to sign up to my WordPress run blog (particularly since it would involve keeping track of yet another user name and password, and, lets face it, I’m not that important), and you had a Twitter account, you could reply to my tweet about the blog post, either:

  • through the main Twitter site
  • or better, through the Tweetboard app on my site, where you could also view all of the other replies (and replies to the replies)

So, you can use Tweetboard as a “microforum,” or comment system replacement.

There are … issues with Tweetboard and it’s use:

  • “Currency” of a thread relies on either how recently it was started or posted to, or how active it was (there are sorting methods) – so if someone comes across an old blog posting, they may not be able to find the thread for that post to reply to.
  • It’s alpha, and it’s possible that once they “release” this app for general use, it will require payment.
  • It currently doesn’t appear to include (all? because I think I’m seeing some of them) “unthreaded” tweets (tweets that don’t have any replies attached to them) unless they’re posted using the Tweetboard tool; this could be because they just opened the app to testing and the servers may be getting pounded.
  • The inclusion of a URL on a tweet can result in some trimming of the original tweet; when the tweet is viewed using something other than Tweetboard, there may be information missing, which can only be retrieved by going to the Tweetboard app – which requires going to the site for that particular Tweetboard user.  As much as I like seeing my stats go up, I don’t like the idea of someone having to browse away from either their Twitter or popping open a new tab (everyone uses a tab based browser now, right?) just to get to the punchline.
  • As it’s not run by Twitter, this is another app you have to:
    • allow a cookie for (I’m very stingy about who I accept cookies from)
    • authorize access to your Twitter information

    if you’re going to tweet using the Tweetboard tool.

  • Some folks don’t like javascript because of the possible security issues.
  • The tab that Tweetboard adds to your site can be annoying; I’d wonder if there’s a way to customize it so that it comes up on the right side of the browser instead of the left (I’ll have to poke around their site to find out).
  • EDIT 11:50pm ET: Fellow Tweetboard tester @erikthebassist noted, if used as a replacement for a comment system, it’s going to be a “microcomment” system; the 140 character limit on tweets can be severely insufficient for someone who might want to put in their $0.02 (not to be confused with .02 cents – that one’s for you, @donttrythis)

I guess that’s it for now.  I’ll of course edit this post if something else occurs to me.

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