Twingly Live goes Webciety – again!

This week, the digital industry’s biggest, most international event, CeBIT, is taking place in the German city of Hannover. One part of the annual happening combining exhibition, conferences, keynotes, corporate events and lounges is the Webciety, a special platform for the Internet Business.

And the cool thing is: The Webciety team uses our Twingly Live tool on their live streaming page to show reactions from Twitter in real time. If you click on this link you are being forwarded to the stream, and if you look at the right you see the Twingly Live box with the the real time stream of tweets containing the #webciety hashtag (there is also a second tab highlighting tweets that received the most reactions).

Since #webciety is a pretty popular hashtag on Twitter right now, some spammers thought it was a good idea to hijack it, hence the Live widget showed their tweets as well. Fortunately, Twingly Live offers tools to moderate the real time Twitter stream – something you can’t do with Twitters own widget solution.

After users have created a Twingly Live stream for a specific keyword or hashtag, they can access the admin area where they see all incoming tweets that will be shown. For each and every tweet there is the option to either remove the tweet or to block the specific user permanently. So if you create a Twingly Live stream and want to get rid of some tweets or even block spammy users, you can do that easily!

In the case of #webciety – which has been using Twingly Live already in 2010 – we also created some custom-made filters to make sure that no spam will appear in the Live feed.

Whether these additional measurements are necessary is something that we decide on a case by case basis, and usually it’s only needed for some really huge events which get a lot of media attention. In most cases though, users are happy with the moderation features included in the admin area.

In this post we introduced you to 3 additional features of Twingly Live that you might find useful. Go, check it out and create you own Stream on http://live.twingly.com. And in case you are in charge of an event and need support, we are looking forward to hear from you.

The #NEXT11 in Twitter numbers

As we mentioned a few days ago, Anton and Anja from the Twingly crew have travelled to Berlin this week to attend the Next Conference 2011. While they aren’t back at the Twingly headquarter yet, we thought we should have a look at the Twitter stats surrounding the event, since we monitored it with our Twingly Liveboard service.

Liveboard is a feature that visualizes the buzz about trends on Twitter. It’s HTML5 based and works with any state of the art browser powered by the WebKit engine, like Chrome and Safari, as well as with Firefox 4, Firefox 3.6, Internet Explorer 9 and Opera.

Here is the link to the Next11 Liveboard showing metrics and stats about the amount of Twitter buzz the two-day-conference got. Everything you see is monitored and presented in real time (here is a screenshot that we took the day before Next11 kicking off).

Let’s summarize the key figures:
Overall number of tweets containing the “next11” keyword: more than 11.000
Tweets about next11 during the time of the conference: almost 9.000
Number of different users tweeting about next11: more than 3000
Number of unique hashtags in tweets mentioning next11: 1200
Number of unique links in tweets mentioning next11: almost 3000

Top 5 Twitter users mentioned in tweets with “next11” hashtag:
@TheNextWeb
@nextconf
@50hz
@CBM
@sesselman

Top 5 Twitter users with most tweets about next11:
@50hz
@nextconf
@sesselmann
@lojanna
@countUP

Top 5 most used hashtags
#next11
#int
#Elevator
#datalove
#soc

Overall, the first conference day on Tuesday led to more tweets than the second one.

Head to our Liveboard for Next11 to see all this in a visually very appealing way, or go the realtime stream of next11-related tweets which actually is still flowing. You can create such a stream yourself, just go to live.twingly.com.

In case you would like to have a Liveboard for your own event to either simply spread the link online or to show it on a big screen at your event location, please send a mail to martin at twingly dot com and we’ll create one for you (the product is still in Alpha stadium). And in case you have any feature suggestions or wishes don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments section.

We love Data and we attend #NEXT11 in Berlin!

Anton and I will have the great honour to be part of a group of almost 80 official bloggers from all over Europe and we will be helping covering NEXT Conference with blog posts and tweets.

We already started our personal blogging, Anton’s posts you find here and mine here. And we do not mind you following our updates on Twitter at all….

We look forward to a great program and listening to a whole bunch of awesome speakers. Peter Vesterbacka from Rovio, creators of Angry Birds, Mike Butcher from Techcrunch Europe, Amanda Rose of Twestival, David Rowan from Wired UK and Markus “Videopunk” Hündgen from Blinkenlichten and one of the organisers of VideoCamp only being a few of the many highlights.

Last but certainly not least it will be exciting to follow who wins the Elevator Pitch! The Jury already chose the 12 finalists, and I already chose my 3 favourites , and I think Anton cannot decide really… 😉 . Am excited to see how they all will be doing!

Since it is two Twinglians taking part in the blog- and tweet-buzz  around NEXT, we of course didn’t miss setting up a Liveboard  already some time ago.

Check it out on your iPad, Safari, Chrome or (good news!) now even on IE9+ and FF4.0+ !

Already over 2000 tweets! Let’s see if we get #next11 as trending topic onto Twitter during next Tuesday and Wednesday – would be nice!

By the way should you be one of the people who decide last minute to attend the conference there are still a few tickets available – with 30% discount!

Now you know where to find us – and we’d love to meet you there!

How Twingly can help your blog

Over the years, we have added a bunch of new features, tools and services to our portfolio. Some of our offerings are targeting bloggers, some are for all users looking for information from blogs and microblogs and some are made for enterprise clients.

In this blog post we want to outline how Twingly can help you as a blogger.

We have published a couple of tutorials in the past describing how you can use a particular Twingly feature, but this time our focus is on listing the major ways for you as a blogger to benefit from Twingly, improve blogging, increase your audience and stay informed about what’s going on in in the blog and microblogging world.

Increase audience with Twingly Blogstream

Twingly Blogstream is a technology that we provide to our partner sites (which among others consist of major news and e-commerce players in Scandinavia and elsewhere) in order to allow them to open up to the blogosphere. The Blogstream widget on a partner site shows incoming links from blogs and thus can send back hundreds of new visitors to blogs.

Benefit for you:
Bring lots of new readers to your blog.

Steps required:
Link to one of our partner sites and – very important – ping us!
Here is a step-by-step tutorial explaining how to do that.

Add relevant content to your blog with the Twingly Widget

For bloggers we offer different customizable widgets that you can add to your site to let your readers see who has linked to your blog or what posts that have gotten the most incoming links. There is even an embeddable widget for any search term you enter in our blog search or microblog search.

Benefit for you:
Add context and content to your site, highlight your blog performance

Steps required:
Go to your blog profile (which you find at this URL http://www.twingly.com/blogs/profile?url=http://your-blog-url or by searching for your blog in our blog search engine and clicking on “profile” under the search result for your blog) and click the “Get this widget” link. If you want to add a widget with search results, perform a blog or microblog search for any keyword and click “get as widget for your blog” in the right navigation column.

Here is an explanation with instructions for proper embedding into your blog. If you don’t find a profile for your blog, it’s because you haven’t ping us yet. Do it here.

Monitor the blogosphere

If you are a blogger, you are probably quite interested in knowing which other blogs are linking to you, and you might also have a specific area of interested where you would like to stay ahead of the curve and get information about your preferred topics as soon as they are being discussed on other blogs.

In this case you sould try our blog search engine, which lets you subscribe by either email or RSS to search terms like company or brand names, URLs or other relevant keywords. And if you want, you can do the same with our microblog search engine, covering Twitter and other status update based sites.

Benefit for you:
Get the information you need as a blogger to stay up to date .

Steps required:
Perform a search for the term(s) you want to monitor and subscribe.
Here is a step-by-step tutorial how to do that.

Top 10 Tweets About Osama bin Laden

The Top 10 tweets (in English) about Osama bin Laden, as measured by the top 20 retweets-list  Twingly Live Bin Laden stream.

1. 9531 retweets:

2. 4816 retweets:

3. 3454 retweets:

4. 2658 retweets:

5. 2260 retweets:

http://twitter.com/EpicTweets_/status/65158472366424064

6. 2077 retweets:

7. 1991 retweets:

8. 1968 retweets:

http://twitter.com/Queen_UK/status/65112431562723328

9. 1918 retweets:

10. 1882 retweets:

RSS won’t die, but news readers are evolving and becoming more social

For years, there has been talk about the death of RSS. While RSS has been the most common way for bloggers and information workers to gather and collect information from lots of sources, it has never really caught the attention of the mainstream users. There might be many reasons for that, but the rather “unsexy” name of the format, the relatively complicated way of subscribing to a RSS feed (for less experienced users) and the little efforts from publishers to market RSS (with the exception of blogs) definitely contributed to the slow adoption of RSS outside of the web geek sphere (imagine if subscribing to a RSS feed would have been as easy as “liking” something with Facebook…).

In recent times, the number of people claiming RSS will die has increased due to the emergence of the realtime web, mainly pushed by Twitter, which increasingly is becoming a news distribution service (also thanks to innovative, Twitter based news readers like Flipboard or Pulse). Even though RSS has become realtime capable thanks to protocols such as PubSubHubbub or RSS Cloud, it is still (incorrectly) being perceived as a slower way of accessing news and information than Twitter.

The recently announced end of web-based RSS reader Bloglines is grist for the mill of those who see RSS dying. Even though Bloglines has fallen into oblivion already years ago, it was still one of the two big browser-based full-fledged RSS readers out there. Now with Bloglines disappearing, only Google Reader is left, leaving not many alternatives to those that are trying to not become too depended on Google services (which can happen easily when using Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar and Google Reader).

Well, for all those people, we might have the solution: Twingly Channels, our social and collaborative news tool which one can use to import both RSS feeds and articles from blogs based around specific keywords.

But wait, didn’t I just describe how some think RSS seems to be dying? Well, I did, but in fact, it isn’t. Even though it is pretty clear that RSS won’t become a big mainstream phenomenon due to the reasons mentioned above, the number of RSS subscribers to many of the big tech blogs is still increasing, and ironically, many of the articles being shared on Twitter come from RSS feeds – either from users who find them in their RSS reader, or via Twitter accounts that belong to big news sites, which usually are fed with the site’s RSS feed.

So while it is possible that some former RSS hardcore users are giving up on the format and solely rely on Twitter and social news aggregators such as Techmeme in the future, there are no indications of a broader trend of people totally abandoning RSS.

Nevertheless, conventional web-based RSS readers (such as Bloglines or Google Reader) but even Desktop RSS clients have their drawbacks: They usually don’t allow for collaboration, they focus only on RSS and they are not really sharable. Having that in mind, let’s get back to Twingly Channels!

Twingly Channels is made for several people contributing together to one social news stream, where they monitor, “like” and comment on news items imported from both RSS feeds but also via keywords. To each item, the number of linking posts and retweets is shown. And of course you can share the Channel with other Twingly users!

We are aware that Twingly Channels doesn’t replace classic RSS Readers. But that’s not our intention either. In Fact, Twingly Channels is taking the concept of RSS to the next level, making it more social, and combining it with a keyword centric way of importing content. In the end, RSS will definitely stay for good (especially because of the realtime boost the format got thanks to PubSubHubBub and RSS Cloud), but conventional, unsocial RSS readers might disappear.

So if you have been using Bloglines and are looking for a new tool to manage your news and information, or if you are using another RSS client but are in the need of something more social, or if you don’t even use RSS but would like to try a social reader which simply brings you all the blog content regarding specific keywords, you should try Twingly Channels.

We wrote this guide to help you getting started. It’s easy, so give it a whirl! And if you want us to import your complete list of subscribed RSS feeds from Bloglines, Google Reader or any other RSS client, send us an email with the OPML-file (containing your subscriptions – you get this file by using the export function in your RSS reader) and the URL of your Twingly Channel (e.g. www.twingly.com/channelname) to support@twingly.com and we’ll take care of it!

/Martin Weigert

Why using Twitter could help your Investor Relations

For companies there seem to be a trillion reasons why they should start using and paying attention to Social Media. The use cases range from creating loyal customers to getting feedback about products and services, from offering an additional channel for customer service to pushing out marketing messages, from informing existing and potential clients/consumers about products and events to staying updated about what competitors are doing. Give yourself a few minutes and you probably will come up with dozens of more reasons.

But there is one benefit of Social Media that is remarkebly absent from all the top lists you find online about why companies should start to use Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, YouTube and so on: To improve investor relations (IR) and to disseminate firm-initiated disclosures and news. By using Social Media channels, especially smaller and medium-sized companies can reach out to existing  and potential Investors and keep them informed.

On IR Web Report, a web site specialized in publishing research and news about online investor relations practices, we found an interesting interview with Hal White, assistant professor of accounting at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Together with a two other researchers from the same school Hal has created an academic paper trying to answer the question whether companies now – while being able to use direct-access information technology – can act as their own information intermediaries.

One of their key findings is that Twitter appears to be an effective way for firms to communicate with investors and to disseminate information to the stock market. And this is especially true for those firms which are too small, insignificant or simply too young to catch the mainstream and industry media’s attention. Funny enough these are the companies that usually have the biggest need to establish investor relations (e.g. technology startups looking for funding).

For people who are enthusiastic about the new ways of communication enabled by the digital revolution – like us at Twingly and probably most of you, our dear readers – this doesn’t come as a big surprise. But as IR Web Report author Dominic Jones states, for many people in the IR community the common believe is rather that Social Media is a waste of time.

In the extensive interview, the researcher Hal White gives some deeper insights into the study the report is based on. The three professors took a sample of technology firms (due to their qualification as early adopters), analyzed their tweeting patterns and looked at whether Twitter messages, especially those based around news-events and press releases, had a significant impact on the information environment of the company. Usually, it had. And usually, tweeting was clearly beneficial for the less visible companies but not so much for the more visible companies that are already getting attention (often with the help of newswires).

Hal White also gives en explanation of why it is mainly Twitter that has been embraced by IR departments. He assumes that this is because of Twitter’s short messaging style, which makes it easy to spread a news even to people on their mobile phones, and to do so in real time. It’s the best way to reach out to investors who often are on the go and who need to be as efficient as possible in their news and information management. The researchers also looked at blogs but found that there was a lot of opinion and two-way-communication rather than a strong focus on distribution of press releases and news (which, as boring as it sounds, is what investors need, at least in the initial stage).

Assuming that the report is right (which we don’t have any doubts on judging from our own experience with using Twitter for Twingly-related news), the best thing you as a small or mid-sized company can do is start using Twitter for publishing your corporate news, following venture capitalists, business angels and other seed investors, serial entrepreneurs, and of course the financial press. Some will follow you back. Let’s see if it will help you to create and improve your investor relations (and eventually get funded).

If you haven’t really used Twitter yet, here, here and here are a few articles you should read before getting started.

/Martin Weigert

(Illustration: stock.xchng)

Do you think before you tweet?

When you publish your ordinary 140 character messages on Twitter, it’s easy to forget who your total audience is. No, not only your followers on Twitter and those users who might have subscribed to your stream via RSS. In fact, it’s everyone on the Internet. Almost 2 billion people, who have access to your daily Twitter updates, if you didn’t set your account to private (which hardly anybody does on Twitter).

That’s pretty impressive, isn’t it? I hear you saying “Well, that’s the same for any public web page and blog”. Correct. But the difference is that it takes much longer and more effort to publish content on regular websites/blogs, and since you are not limited to those 140 characters, you write longer texts, and you have more time to think through what you have written before you press publish.

From my personal Twitter experience I can say that this is totally different on Twitter. Twitter is the leading tool of the real time web, and as such a communication channel where everything is about speed. Twitter is the place where news break first, and as we explained last week, the way Twitter works even helps spreading less important information to a lot of people within a very short amount of time.

But the nature of Twitter with quick messages that are being tweeted and retweeted in (near) real time comes at a price: quality and trustworthiness. While there are tweets that give the impression of being well thought through – especially of users who focus on humorous or ironic Twitter updates – the majority of tweets and retweets have been put together in a few seconds.

So because of that, and because everyone on the Internet can see your tweets, it really makes sense to always think twice before pushing something to Twitter – or at least to think once.

I would guess that every regular Twitter user knows the uncomfortable feeling of having sent a tweet that she/he regretted afterwards.

Since there is no way to edit a tweet, the only thing you can do is to delete it. Some Twitter clients offer a useful option to do that, but I also have used apps that didn’t. Instead, I had to rush to Twitter’s website, log-in to my account (when you are in a hurry, you might mistype your password twice before you succeed in loging in), and then delete the tweet. With a bit of luck, I was fast enough so that nobody of my Twitter followers did see my weird/stupid/incorrect tweet. Sometimes, I wasn’t.

Recently, Twitter has launched the new User Streams API and is now step by step rolling out access to it. If the API is enabled for your Twitter client, all the tweets are appearing in real ‘real time’. Before, it could take 30 seconds or longer for your personal stream to update with new tweets. It was rather a bulk updating process than a real time updating.

What that means is that it will soon become completely impossible to hide a tweet from your followers by deleting it. Because when everyone has access to the new API, your followers will see your tweet in the very second you sent it.

That means that thinking before twittering will be even more important in the future than it has been so far.

Because of this, I personally try to stick to some ground rules when sending a tweet. It doesn’t always work, sometimes the temptation of being first out with a specific information/news is just too big. Still, I think it is good to have some criteria in the back of your head while using Twitter. It could help you to avoid embarrassing situations.

These are my suggestions. Feel free to add a comment with your input:

  • Is there a link I can attach to my tweet to show the source of my information?
  • Does the information sound reasonable and realistic? What does my intuition say?
  • Do I offend people with the tweet (more than necessary)?
  • Have I been twittering about the same thing too many times?
  • Is the spelling/grammar correct?
  • Does this tweet fit together with my opinion in earlier tweets/blog articles, or do I contradict myself?
  • Could the information in my tweet be something that everyone already knows?
  • If I’m about to retweet somebody else, do I know this person (from Twitter)? How much do I know about her/his credibility?
  • Should I add a personal comment to my retweet in order to explain to my followers why I thought this information/link was valuable?

Of course the process of thinking through these points is something that happens within the fraction of a second, in best multitasking tradition. And as I said – it’s not always working, we are all humans and act like them. Nevertheless it has helped me to establish a basic quality assurance for my tweets. If I would stand in front of almost two billion people, I probably would be very careful with what I’m saying. So I think it can’t be too wrong if Twitter user’s think a second before they tweet.

/Martin Weigert

(Photo: stock.xchng)

The Most Popular Twitter Clients According to the Blogosphere – Reloaded!

Two years ago the US tech blog ReadWriteWeb published our analysis of the most popular Twitter apps according to the blogosphere. Since then, Twitter has grown, some apps have disappeared, others have evolved. We think it is time to have a closer look again.

Using data from our blog search engine we decided to find out which Twitter clients are getting the most buzz on blogs. The result is a list of the most popular 3rd-party Twitter-apps according to the blogosphere, based on blog mentions between April and June this year.

Since we did not want to compare apples with oranges, we thought it would the best to ignore all those apps that can connect and publish to Twitter, but that are not real, fully functional Twitter clients for reading and writing to the microblogging service. That’s why the following list does not include location based services, Blog platforms or photo/video sites capable of accessing Twitter. Instead, we are focusing on feature-rich Twitter clients, because this is where you have to choose from when using Twitter in a serious way.

Top 5 Overall

Tweetdeck
HootSuite
Seesmic
Echofon
Twitterrific

In 2008, the ranking looked totally different. Only one of the Twitter apps creating the most buzz in the blogosphere back then is still part of the 2010 edition: Twitterrific, rank 4 in 2008, rank 5 today. The others got either abandoned (like Terraminds micro search), let alone by the developer after being acquired (like twhirl), or do not qualify anymore since they are no fully equipped Twitter clients – in 2008, we included other services like photo sites or search engines for Twitter as well, since unlike today, at that time not every Social Web platform had a Twitter integration.

Top 5 Desktop Clients

Tweetdeck
Seesmic
Twitterrific
Gwibber
Digsby

Same here as in the Top 5 Overall list – only Twitterrific (Mac only) is still going strong, but fell one position (from 2 to 3). The other 4 most popular apps from 2008 – thwirl, Snitter, Tweetr (now an iPhone app) and Twitteroo – do still exist, but apparently lost the blogosphere’s attention, which now has other darlings.

Top 5 Web Clients

HootSuite
Seesmic
Brizzly
CoTweet
sobees

None of the top apps from 2008 is still in this year’s list. Back then we actually didn’t have a single fully functional Browser client included, simply because they didn’t exist yet. Instead, photosite mobypicture, blog-to-Twitter service twitterfeed, the 2 Twitter search engines Terraminds (abandoned) and Summize (acquired by Twitter) and the Twitter keyword aggregator twistori made it into the Top 5 in 2008.

Top 10 Mobile Clients

Tweetdeck
Seesmic
Echofon
Twitterrific
ÜberTwitter
twidroyd (aka twidroid)
Snaptu
Twittelator
Osfoora
Gravity

In 2008 it was pretty difficult to find a decent mobile app for Twitter, and our analysis showed that there were fewer blog posts written about mobile Twitter apps in relation to other categories. Fast forward to 2010 and things are completely different. There are many great mobile clients for different platforms available, which is why we decided to extend this year’s list to Top 10. Just for the sake of completeness, the most buzzed about mobile apps in 2008 were Hahlo, Cetwit, Twitter Answers, Twapper and Twittai.

Notes and Methodology
We used this and this list of Twitter apps as a basis and we analyzed all mentions in blogs across the world from April 1 to June 30. In some cases the number of valid mentions was smaller than the one we found, simply because of backlinks created by some apps that published from Twitter to blogs, like “via App XYZ”.

Also, some of the apps are available for several platforms, like Seesmic which you can use in the browser, on your desktop and on different mobile platforms. Since it was not always possible to conclude to which version of Seesmic a mention referred to, we can only give you the overall picture of how popular Seesmic is across all platforms. Please also note that a mention not necessarily is a measure for quality, and that sudden spikes in the number of mentions could be caused by major news, like the acquisition of a service.

So while our list is not the one and only, definite way of ranking Twitter clients, it illustrates which of the 3rd party apps for Twitter are creating the most buzz in the blogosphere. And as a sidenote we can assure you that all clients in the list are actually pretty good and worth trying. So in the end, the blogsphere seems to be good judge.

/Martin Weigert