How the realtime web changes the world

At Twingly, we are big fans of the realtime web. Well, that shouldn’t come as a surprise since some of our services are built around it – like Twingly Live and Twingly Channels.

The interesting thing with the realtime web is that it is more and more becoming an integral part of the web. People are taking for granted that it is there, without thinking about it. While the term “realtime web” always has been used mainly by web enthusiasts and geeks, the idea of user generated content published in (near) realtime through platforms like Twitter, Facebook or others that allow for instant status updates and search, has spilled over into the Internet mainstream. Considering that Facebook is close to reach 500 million active users and having in mind that the social network encourages people to publish content to the public, it’s very likely that the publicly accessible realtime web is now being populated by hundreds of millions of people.

The contribution of web users all over the world to the continuous stream of information has become an important part of many people’s web usage. And search engines and services like Twitter Search, Snap Bird, OneRiot, Tweetmeme, Openbook or even Google and Bing enable anyone to tap into this realtime stream, to see what people are talking right now, which links they are sharing – yes, in fact even to get an overview about the mood of people, right now and by looking back and aggregating status updates.

While most people are aware of the new possibilities and usage patterns triggered by social networks, blogging and microblogging, I’m not sure if everyone has thought about the consequences all this could have on societies and economies.

It’s worth to take a minute and to think about the way the realtime web is changing the world. That sounds like big words, but it might not be exaggerated. The realtime web makes it possible for people to organize without formal leader. We have seen in a few non-democratic countries how Twitter was used as a tool to avoid censorship, to spread news and to inform about upcoming demonstrations and protests. With the realtime web, people can organize faster. Really fast – and as some unofficial street parties in France show, in a way that the authorities have problems to adjust. Imagine what this could mean on a bigger scale. If suddenly and without any previous planning a million people would gather on a city’s main square, after reading about it on Twitter 30 minutes before. A really big flash mob. That’s a power of the people even western societies are not used to.

I don’t want to claim that the realtime web already has made the world more democratic, but it at least has the chance to do so. And it definitely creates transparency. In any second, you can use a variety of technologies to receive people’s honest realtime feedback on products, services and events. Last time everyone could witness this was on Saturday’s final of the Eurovision Song Contest. Following the #esc hashtag on Twitter was almost more fun than watching the show.

Even if you cannot be sure that everything you read is true, the social connections between people and the way they earn trust over time by being a reliable and authentic source of information and opinion acts as a filter, ensuring that not every stupid rumour is going viral.

On the other hand, that’s not always enough. There have been so many occasions when people falsely were said to have died. Those kind of stories do not always come from Twitter or other realtime services, but rather from mainstream media and gossip sites. Still, with the realtime web, they are spreading much faster and reaching people who otherwise never would read celebrity sites or questionable tabloids.

I think it is necessary to highlight that there is a risk involved in the realtime web. A risk that the combination of global connections and weak filters can lead to misinformation’s on a large scale, which could spark unrest or even panic. Especially in a situation where a really bad news is hitting the web, not all people necessarily think about fact-checking or going to another, renowned newspaper site to get a confirmation before sharing the news. So I don’t think it is too far fetch to expect some major case of global misinformation caused by the realtime web. But that’s maybe what needs to happen to make people realize what power the realtime web gave them as a crowd. And fortunately and despite the uncertainty regarding the future of journalism, there will always be professional journalists who can correct false reports or complete incomplete information spreading on the realtime web. That’s one of the main tasks future journalists will have to work with.

Even though there are some question marks about if the realtime web in fact could cause trouble to people, in my eyes the advantages and opportunities are prevailing. More democracy and more transparency could at least in theory lead to a better and more honest world. It’s up to us to make it become real in practice, too.

/Martin Weigert

(Illustration: stock.xchng)

Twingly Live at “Uppdrag granskning” on Swedish Television tonight

Swedish media continues to go realtime. Tonight Swedish public service-broadcaster SVT will use Twingly Live for their show “Uppdrag Granskning”. Twingly Live connects the show to the discussion about it on the real-time web. And for the first time, the Live feed will be fully displayed at the SVT website and in connection to the live broadcasting of the show on the web.

“Step by step we are upgrading to a 2.0-platform where we can get feedback, comments and answer questions from viewers during live broadcasts. Twitter is an excellent tool for that kind of realtime conversations”, says Axel Humlesjö, Swedish Television. You can follow him on Twitter as @axelhumlesjo.

Tonight’s show investigates how illegally caught African fish is being extracted to omega 3 oil intended for the European market. Sounds like something for you to tweet about? Use the hashtag #granskning or #uppdraggranskning to get into the Twingly Live feed.

Find the live broadcast and Twingly Live linked from Uppdrag Granskning tonight at 20.00.

Twingly Live Breakthrough

Image credit: Anders Ljungberg

Today, when the Olympics starts in Vancouver, several Swedish media companies are for the first time connecting their news coverage of the event with live updates from Twingly Live.

Twingly Live is a realtime stream of tweets for a specific topic or event and we’re happy that Aftonbladet, Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet , SVT and Expressen will all use our service to let this be part of their news coverage from the Olympics. Martin nails it in the press release why this is so cool:

“People are multitasking in front of their TV sets. They follow TV-broadcasts and read news sites on the Internet while at the same time they’re tweeting and commenting through social media,” says Martin Källström, CEO of Twingly. “It’s a fantastic development that increases peoples interest in news reports. With Twingly Live media take advantage of this online engagement.

What we’ve seen is that Twingly Live is very optimized for realtime broadcasts. Again, Martin explain why our realtime approach is so important for these types of media coverage and why a minor delay makes it all a lot less interesting:

“It is important that the on-going discussion in social media really is transferred in realtime when broadcasted live,” says Martin Källström. “You might think that a small delay is not all that annoying, but the dialogue is interrupted even if just delayed by a few seconds. Therefore, real time technology is a prerequisite for being able to link the discussion in social media with the direct reports from the traditional media.”

We’ll update you with the url:s to their sites as soon as they’re live. Be sure to follow us on Twitter to get noticed.

Twingly Live at Stora Bloggpriset

Tonight one of Sweden’s largest newspapers, Aftonbladet, is rewarding the most popular Swedish blogs at the award show Stora Bloggpriset. We’re of course attending this exciting event, but we are also providing a Twingly Live-channel that you can follow at So if you are tweeting about the awards, just use the hashtag #bloggpriset and your tweet will show directly at Dont hesitate to get in touch if you want to use Twingly Live for your event, either on screens at the venue or on your website.

Twingly Live about #cop15 on, sponsored by Vattenfall

Today we’re excited to introduce a new business area for Twingly – sponsored realtime services for media web sites.

First up is a special version of Twingly Live for the Climate Conference in Copenhagen, #cop15. This Twingly Live is integrated directly at the Swedish news site and is sponsored by the energy company Vattenfall. It is the very first project testing our new sponsorship model for realtime services on media web sites.

We believe this solution is showing one of many possible ways into the future for media web sites, since it both connects the editorial content to the real time web and create new revenues for the web site. This is something our new rock star Annie will work on in the upcoming months, so please contact her if you’re interested in a partnership.

The Cop15 Twingly Live is showing news articles that tweets with the hashtag #cop15 is linking to. As always with Twingly Live and Channels, it’s totally realtime. And of course the service can be customized depending on the needs of our future partners.

Welcome to the era of Guessperimentation

This is a guest post by Marit Woody:

Guessing and experimenting. That is what I do for a living. Of course not without a strategic plan and I try to keep guesses qualified. But it all comes down to trial and error, with a crucial new twist to it: once guesses and theories are empirically tested, methods, tools and truths have already changed again.

I use the new opportunities for communicating that companies like Twingly, Google, Facebook, Twitter and others offer in services like Google Wave, Twingly Channels and Twingly live. What those companies do is in fact guessperimenting. They won’t wait for a product to be booringly perfect before letting people use it. Instead they put something they’ve guessperimented on out there for users to try, talk about, help develop and bring new ideas into. Things don’t come with a user manual anymore, because what use would it be when you don’t know how the users will make use of the product? It’s actually easier for a company to just put stuff out there for people to try than to wait and spend years in developing the ultimate product.

So what qualities make people and companies successful in guessperimenting? I suppose that a well executed trend analysis combined with a lot of feeling is a great way to start. A good knowledge of your trade theory to lean on, yet still beeing fearless and not tied down by old truths and traditions of the industry. And creativity of course. Didn’t I just describe a jazz musician? Guessperimenting and improvising his or her way to reach new highs.

For people working in PR, advertising and other kinds of communication, social media and the real time web has indeed meant a lot has changed. I, for instance, believe it means the end of using target audiences as one of the bases of communication. Read more (in Swedish) here . We need to guessperiment our way to make our clients reach out and we need our clients to be courageous and have faith in us while doing so. More importantly, we need to make sure the individual finds what he or she is looking for. Because what consumers do today is they seek information and form their own groups and opinions around a subject or a brand. If I’m looking to buy a new mobile phone it’s easier for a mobile phone company to find me through what I seek, than trying to pin point what type of person would be likely to want a new mobile phone. That’s why it’s completely outdated to be talking about target groups or target audiences.

Traditional media and the music industry are also guessperimenting big time right now. They should have started sooner. What will happen to services like Spotify now that artists complain about not getting paid properly and therefore withdraw their tracks? Spotify will have to guessperiment some more. And will Rupert Murdoch really find more revenue by boycotting Google? He should be adopting the guessperimenting strategy.

The times couldn’t possibly be more exciting and the opportunities are endless. Everyday something new happens and cool services on the web emerge. And the use is completely developed by the users. May the era of guessperimentaion never end!

Marit Woody work as a pr-agent at Greenhill Relations in Stockholm. She has been in the music business for several years before going into PR, and is now specialized in communication on the real time web and in social media.

Twingly Live is Live!

The realtime web is very useful when it comes to following and commenting on realtime IRL events like concerts, conferences, tv broadcasts or similar. We also believe this will be one of the main usages of Twingly Channels in the future.

So, we developed a neat little backchannel solution called Twingly Live until Channels is ready for that kind of usage. And it’s awesome.

Twingly Live is a realtime Twitter stream for a certain keyword. There’s no delay between Twitter and Twingly Live, so when you’re posting something at Twitter it will show instantly in Twingly Live. It’s easy to understand why we thought Twingly Live was a good name.

Martin explained why Twingly Live is important in our press release:

“Twitter is a fantastic service but tweets often reach the receiver with a few seconds delay, which may seem paradoxical when Twitter for many is the very definition of the real-time web,” said Martin Källström. “Latency greatly disrupts the flow of the dialogue, the same way as phone calls over long distances used to be uncomfortable. It’s also difficult to have rapid group conversations. Twingly Live solves all these problems. It is much faster than Twitter Search, for example, and can be moderated by the owner.”

Twingly Live has already been used at some events and will be the official backchannel solution for SIME on 11-12 November. Other events that have used it are the EU-conference Visby Agenda, the Social Democratic Party Congress and Really Realtime Conference.

Read more about Twingly Live in our press release or simply check it out.

This is Twingly Channels

The realtime web is overwhelming us with information. Search is not social. RSS is a broken promise. Twingly Channels brings a revolution to these three areas.

A Twingly Channel acts as a social filter on top of feeds and realtime search, allowing you to set up a social memetracker for any topic or event. The underlying idea is that by aggregating feeds and realtime search results into a channel where many people sharing the same interest can discuss and vote on the content (while also providing a filter to solve the prevalent problem of information overflow) we lower the learning curve to the realtime web.

Twingly Channels provides instant user value without the user having to spend time finding the right people to follow. Following topics rather than individuals, you immediately tap into the collective intelligence of a group of people sharing your interests. Or you can create your own channel and invite others to assist you in picking feeds and keywords to monitor.

A Channel consists of two views. While the Incoming view shows the full stream, the Popular view is filtered using attention data from the realtime web and from users posting links, comments and likes.

Here’s a bundle of screenshots showing these examples of these two views (click to enlarge!):

Web 2.0 - Popular_1251724977106 Social media - Incoming_1251721628158

One specific use of Twingly Channels will be to monitor all conversations around a brand, for internal use or to provide a social space for fans of the brand (click to enlarge!).

Spotify - Popular_1251894845154 Spotify - Incoming_1251893782299

Not easily shown in a screenshot is the fact that everything in Twingly Channels is realtime: the incoming stream of new content, user comments and likes and the filtering into the memetracker view. We leverage our existing search engine for blogs and microblogs to bring new results into relevant channels based on the search terms channel owners have defined.

Some coverage on Twingly Channels so far:

Exclusive Screenshots Of Twingly Channels: A Personalized, Real-Time Memetracker

The Next Web:
Twingly Channels could be the FriendFeed beater we’ve been waiting for

UPDATED In German:

Gemeinsam gegen die Informationsüberflutung
Translated: United against the information overload

In Swedish:

Twingly skapar ny mikrobloggtjänst

Ny Teknik:
Smartare sök när användarna hjälps åt
Translated: Smarter search when users help each other
Twingly från Linköping utmanar Google
Translated: Twingly from Linköping challenges Google

Anders Thoresson:
Twingly vill göra RSS-läsaren social
Translated: Twingly wants to make the RSS-reader social

BBC is the latest addition to cover the real time web with Twingly

The British broadcaster BBC is the latest addition of media companies that track real time social media with the help of Twingly. Together with Yahoo and Nielsen, Twingly provides BBC with data for a prototype of their new service, Shownar that launched today at

By helping more than 100 customers with their relation to social media, Twingly has become one of the greatest players in offering real time information in Europe. This is once again proven through the co-operation with BBC and Shownar.

Shownar monitors activity around BBC programmes on the web, and works out which are gaining the most attention. It highlights those gems in the schedules that others have not only watched, but are talking about, and then points you in the direction of those discussions on the web. Twingly provides data from Twitter-like services to help monitor these discussions. You can read more about Shownar at the BBC Internet blog.

With BBC being such a progressive force online, it is great for Twingly to be a part of the frontline for their new services. We are excited to see if Shownar can lead the way in taking the pulse on realtime discussions about TV-programmes.