Twitter for Visual Learners

Always fascinated by a catchy graphic, especially one that moves, I could help but investigate the cool, free Twitter visualization tools in the MakeUseOf article by Ryan Dube (link here). These tools offer an different view on the connections, conversations and relationships on Twitter. This is information that is not readily apparent from a glance at the tweet stream, but jumps off the page when you run your request through these third party apps.

The first app I tried is Mentionmap (link here). Simply type in a Twitter username, ANY Twitter username, and get a floating, sprouting, dynamic map of nodes branching out from that username to other users and hashtags the original user frequently links to or mentions. Type a name, navigate to a floating node and a new bunch of nodes will take front and center and spring up from the name. An interesting way to browse through a users stream of influence and interest. Check out my Mentionmap below:

The next app I tried was the Twitter Friends Network Browser (link here). This app allows you to enter aTwitter username and see another node-based map of several of the most recently added friends. Click on one of these friends and the map shifts, showing their friends. Drag the nodes around so that you can keep browsing further and further, investigating the neural net of Twitter connections, node by node.

Very cool way to browse.

To compare my network to someone else’s, I tested TwiAngulate (link here). This app performs some interesting analysis of your network and measures it against another to find mutual followers and friends, big follows, influential follows, obscure friends, and other metrics. If you are interested in keeping a close watch on your sprouting Twitter garden, this app would make a most excellent pruning and cultivating tool.

The last app highlighted was one I found less useful than the ones above. It’s called Twitter Venn (link here) and it creates a Venn diagram of keyword search terms. Not that it isn’t useful, but I found the combinations I chose didn’t necessarily show the overlap I was hoping for. I guess, then, it really was helpful to show that no one was tweeting about iPads, apps and lawyers all in the same 140 characters.

All in all, these are interesting builds on Twitter’s API, filling in some of the informational gaps the Twitter interface lacks. Thanks, Mr. Dube, for providing me with sufficient browsing fodder to get me off my work track for almost an hour.


Sococo – An Always On, Virtual Meeting Place

Typing 140 character updates is all well and good, but sometimes you need the freedom to really jaw about something with the people you need to be jawing with. Chat works o.k., but often lacks the visual elements that a face to face, heart to heart can provide. What if you could simply enter a “room”, find your friends and get down to the business of business online?

You can approach this experience with a new service called Sococo. Sococo describes itself on its site:

Sococo creates always-on virtual spaces where people can meet for business, entertainment, or to just hang out with family and friends. A simple click allows you to enter a shared space where you are instantly connected to others with voice, chat, multi-screen sharing, and a rich set of intuitive visual cues to tell you who’s present, who’s talking, what’s being shared and by whom.

I can hear you now – so what? Web conferencing tools can get you there, right? Not so fast, or rather, Sococo is much faster – there is no need to got through a lengthy process of scheduling a conference or securing access codes and phone connections with the application. Your always on, virtual meeting room is always ready and accessible with a simple click. That click offers you access to other meeting participants via voice, group chat, multi-screen sharing,

Sococo is designed beautifully to meet business need, but it also can work effectively to keep family and friends connected. You can create your own personal space within the Sococo universe for “instant on” access to your personal social circle.

Sococo’s first product is called Team Space – a virtual private office building with individual offices and conference rooms. Sococo believes that, by breaking down barriers to communication (settting meeting times, requiring conference codes), its service can facilitate more effective and spontaneous communication, and more closely resemble the types of office interactions one might find in the real world.

I wonder if there is a virtual water cooler or kitchenette available. One must have the proper space to discuss Dancing With The Stars or Survivor.

Bet you are wondering about cost. I was too. This is what I found on their help forum:

While we’re in Beta, the use of Sococo Team Space is completely free. This includes a private Team Space site with up to 30 offices, 3 conference rooms, and 50 members. 16 members can be in the main conference room at the same time. Beta also includes access to the Sococo Demo Center and the help of the Sococo Smarties. We will give all of our members plenty of notice when we transition to a pay structure for Sococo Team Space. When we begin charging, we’ll continue to support a free level of service.

Not bad at all!