Monday, June 22, 2009

Twitterfall: Now even more useful

The recent Apple RTC meeting was probably the most Twittered event I've ever been to. Search for #applertc and you will find hundreds of messages that were generated during the one and a half day event.

We tried a few tools to display the Tweets in a back channel. First up was Visible Tweets which looks fantastic and was big enough to be seen from the back of the room. However, the problem was it was just too random! Ideally for a back channel, you want the Tweets to appear in chronological order.

Next we tried Monitter and TwitterCamp. I think, of the two, TwitterCamp looks prettier but the Tweets were just far to small to be read properly from the back of the room.

I sent out a Tweet for suggestions as to what we could use instead and within minutes, a number of people suggested trying Twitterfall. I tried it, I liked it and that's what we went with for the rest of the conference. Twitterfall is easily customisable and there are loads of things you can tweak. However, the tools to customise are both a blessing and a curse. Very flexible but therefore slightly confusing, intimidating even. It took quite a bit of fiddling to get a good combination of size and colours.

I was pleased therefore to see today in the Twitterfall blog that they have added a Presentation setting. Excellent! A useful tool has instantly become even better. I feel very guilty therefore to have left a comment on the blog asking for more!


index.php said...

As per my comment on our blog - don't feel guilty! It's a really good idea actually. It's quite hard for us to think about the presentation use case as it's something we've never had to do ourselves. So your idea sounds like a good one so we'll be sure to see what we can do for you :-)

rogerneilson said...

am hoping to set a similar thing up for a conference in July. Useful to see the different ones on offer, I was in the second front row so easy to read anyway. Will look at Twitterfall closely.


Jussi said...

Thanks for the good roundup of the various Twitter visualisation tools and sharing what you are looking for in them!

You may be interested in trying Tweetpond, an ambient visualisation of Twitter. It's a bit of a different approach though but may work as a backchannel depending on what your readability requirements are. Any feedback is most welcome!

(Disclaimer: I am the designer of Tweetpond.)

David said...

Hello index.php (Catchy name!)

Thanks for your feedback on my feedback. I'm glad you didn't get annoyed by the suggestion. I was genuinely impressed by Twitterfall and am now even more impressed by your willingness to listen and respond to your users.

Hello Roger

Glad you found the roundup useful. I still like Visible Tweets. I think if I was running an exhibition, or manning a stand somewhere, I'd go for Visible Tweets because it is so eye catching - people are bound to stop and watch it. However, for a backchannel, I think Twitterfall is currently hard to beat.

Hello Jussi

Tweetpond looks really interesting. I like the downward spiral effect of the older tweets. Interesting way for an individual to explore what's out there but not convinced it would work as a public backchannel.

You asked for feedback but I'm afraid all I can come up with is to use fish icons instead of geometric shapes to continue the pond metaphor.

Thanks for drawing this to my attention.

J said...

I enjoy reading your blog!

It has given me some insight about teaching and I think other teachers will benefit from what you are writing.

I have added your site to my education portal at

Let me know if you have any questions and thanks for your blog,

Steu Mann, M. Ed.

David said...

Thank you J.

Jalada said...

Interesting, looks like the OpenID implementation on Blogger doesn't properly deal with the OpenID delegation tags that I use. index.php should've actually said