Sunday, March 23, 2008

Quotably, and rediscovering my love for non sequiturs

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch just blogged about Quotably:

A new service called Quotably may be the best third party Twitter-related service so far. That’s because it reformats Twitter messages into threaded conversations, making it significantly easier to follow actual discussions that are occurring on Twitter.

Arrington referred to Quotably as the "perfect" tool...which may be stretching it a bit.

I don't know if Quotably simply looks at a reply to person X and finds the last tweet from person X, or whether it tries to apply more intelligence to the assembly of its threads. Twitter does not explicitly define threads, so any such attempt to thread things is at best a guess.

I checked my own Quotably out, and found that, especially for people like myself who suddenly issue a whole bunch of tweets, the results can be a little garbled. For example, Quotably thought that all of these were part of the same thread:

bluestbutterfly: There was an earthquake in Japan? about 2 hours ago

oemperor: @bluestbutterfly earthquake was a little over 5 on richter scale. japan has stringent building codes, so i doubt there was much damage. 4 minutes later

thevixy: @oemperor hey! thanx. i was close! i just wanna follow someone as crazy as i am. that gets tweets like crazy on his phone o.0 haha! 6 minutes later

oemperor: @thevixy i think that @scobleizer is the best beta tester around. he joins a service and befriends hundreds - performance issues identified. 14 minutes later

mayobrains: @oemperor LOL 15 minutes later

For the record, @thevixy was NOT following a crazy earthquake. She had previously asked a general question about the Twitter ID of someone she heard on Leo LaPorte's show. The beginning of that conversation was reproduced later by Quotably; don't know why it thought @thevixy's response to my response had to do with the earthquake.

thevixy: this might sound silly but leo leporte was talking about a Robert Schober guy, does anyone know his twitter? about 2 hours ago

oemperor: @thevixy do you mean robert scoble? it's @scobleizer 5 minutes later

Here's another example of a little bit of garbling:

CathleenRitt: I could paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with the time I have wasted formatting Blogger. What a nightmare. about 2 hours ago

oemperor: @cathleenritt just read your 1999 peep post. that is the first time in YEARS that i've seen a reference to a self-addressed stamped envelope 7 minutes later

However, it should be noted that Quotably has assigned itself a VERY difficult problem to solve, and their results are USUALLY right on. Take a look at this example:

QueenofSpain: I'm feeling too zen to rant. Quick, someone piss me off. about 2 hours ago

mayobrains: @QueenofSpain Your kids are ugly... ;) 1 minute later

QueenofSpain: @mayobrains we're getting somewhere! @holyschmidt I am not wearing pants ;P 4 minutes later

palinode: @QueenofSpain Karl Rove! 4 minutes later

QueenofSpain: @palinode yes yes. now we're really getting somewhere..... 5 minutes later

oemperor: @queenofspain are you still feeling zenny? if so, will "go to the kitchen - GIRLS can't blog" do the trick? only trying to help. 5 minutes later

QueenofSpain: @oemperor eh. not really riling me up. maybe if Karl Rove told me to go to the Kitchen AND called my kids ugly...then we'd have something 7 minutes later

Note how the conversation develops, and how things are added to the conversation as it goes along.

And it should be noted that my text reproductions don't do Quotably justice. In actuality, the Quotably threads are graphic, with continuous indentations as the conversation goes on. And although my examples don't show it, Quotably supports forking, so that you can see when a single tweet results in multiple responses, each of which can generate its own thread.

[mrontemp business] | [mrontemp politics] | [mrontemp technology] | [mrontemp tags]

Sphere: Related Content