Make Hashtags Really Work with Joint

I leave the state for a couple of days and something new comes to town. New tool, Joint, brings a novel perspective on Twitter hashtags and conversations around topics, events or other subjects of common interest. Brought to you by the very fine folk who brought you Lazyfeed and Lazyscope, Ethan Gahng seems to have another winner here. Joint essentially takes Twitter hashtags and creates chat rooms around the tag – giving those interested in the tag a place to actively converse with others interested in the same topic. It also shows the Twitter stream of users tweeting the hashtag – you can tweet directly with the hashtag from the interface, invite the tweeters into the chat, engage in the chat, neither or both. In the left column, there is a list of all of the hashtags you have visited – also known as channels. Once you visit, they stay in that column for later perusal. This column will also show you when there is a new tweet on a hashtag or people in the chatroom for that hashtag. Chat stays inside the application. When you join a channel, Joint prompts you to tweet about it in order to encourage others to join in – there is a link to the chat in the tweet. Check out a sample window (of Ethan’s view) from the “How Joint Works” button.

I find it difficult to follow hashtags. I do use them occasionally, mostly for Follow Friday or when I need to get some angles on a particular topic like iPhones, iPads, or other discreet subjects that are likely to have lots of up to date tweets. But you really can’t interact effectively around them, particularly if you are not following the tweeters and/or they don’t follow you. Joint solves that communications barrier by offering two means within one window to discuss the news. Check out the main directory to find active chats / hashtags and jump right in.

Joint would be absolutely perfect for keeping on top of events (conferences, seminars, natural disasters) and actually speaking with others about and sharing around them, rather than passively watching 140 characters bites flow by.

Just as I have found with Lazyfeed and Lazyscope, Ethan is genius at taking good ideas (blogs, Twitter) and making them far more effective, while keeping it simple for the end user. Check out Joint and check back here with your thoughts.

Hashtags: The Backbone Of The Modern Conference (For Better Or Worse)

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.
Image via Wikipedia

Have you wondered where all the action lurks at legal conferences (or any conferences) these days? Check out this thorough description of the “hashtag” experience at the recent American Association of Law Library conference, July 24 – 29, 2009. If you are unclear on the hashtag concept, it is another long-standing Twitter convention hearkening back to the days when search was nearly non-existent. Marking a universally-accepted term with a hashtag at the front permitted the tweets containing the mark to be collected. See this earlier Studio post for more detail.

Roger Skalbeck and Meg Kribble provide an extraordinarily detailed account of how Twitter and hashtags were used to broad effect at the recent conference in their LLRX article here. The authors created tweet clouds from the tags to visualize the importance (or recurrence) of various topics. They discussed the fall out of anonymous attendees posting to a special account created just for the conference. Hashtag humor and conversation hijacking and blatant business promotion arose in the tagged tweets and accounts.

I am not sure the authors of the article are aware of all of the lessons that the AALL hashtag experience may offer for future legal conferences, from both the organizers’ and the attendees’ points of view. Can too much communication be a positive or negative? Hit the jump and read the account to reach your own conclusions.

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