Twitter is now a mainstay for events – it is far too easy to find yourself tweeting away and tuning in to the hashtag and getting involved in conversations across the room with people you have never met. In fact it is often useful to monitor tweets for events that I am not even at.
When organising events, one of the requirements today has to bedisplaying those very tweets. Not only do they present live feedback of the event; it also acts as a great prompt for more tweeting and offline conversations. In fact at recent Lyris, I had that exact requirement. I wasn’t really happy with using one of the many Twitter clients out there like Tweetdeck or Seesmic Desktop – they are great outbound tools but not ideal for displaying tweets on a large LCD screen and grabbing attention.
There are several tools out there made specifically for events. They all display the tweets in a way that encourages attention, whilst some also allow moderation – either automatically or with manual intervention.
The tools I looked at recently were:
This is as simple a tool as you can get. Go to the website; type in a hashtag and have all tweets – updated in realtime – presented to you in a visually attractive way. Given the simplicity and audience this was the tool I went with. For those who want some added complexity – it also supports Twitter’s search operators so you can refine further by date; sender etc. You can also choose from 3 different animations; though for an event I tend to veer towards the “Rotation” style.
Not quite as sexy as Visible Tweets; there are plenty more options with this tool. Again you can use a hashtag and/or use Twitter search operators; but in addition you can exclude keywords; change the speed of the animation; exclude retweets and even restrict by location (though I assume that would require everyone tweeting to share their location).
Twubs has a fully fledged conference tool – having live moderation as well as a conference display view similar in style to Twitterfall though a cleaner design. It also has the ability to manage question and answer sessions for panels/moderators. Currently it is manual to set up (you have to fill out a request form) and it is currently free whilst in beta.
I first saw Wiffiti (or something similar!) at a Forrester event recently in London. It definitely grabs attention with the movement of tweets and the automatic display of suitably tagged images from Flickr. It is really easy to setup and there is automatic moderation available so you can choose to show only G or R rated content. Compared to the other platforms; Wiffiti has a lot of functionality – allowing users to send messages direct to the screen using SMS as well as Twitter/Flickr. There is also some reporting available showing total interactions, number of unique users and location based information though I have not seen the actual reporting interface.
In the end I went with visibletweets.com and got plenty of positive feedback from the audience. It was quick and simple though it would be nice to get some level of reporting after. I do like Wiffiti as well though other than the visuals and the reporting I dont really need the additional functionality today – at the time, setup felt more complex but looking at it now it seems much simpler. As a result I might use that next time.