Saturday, 26 May 2012

Tweetdeck ideas

I'm fairly new to Tweetdeck but still thought I'd put down a couple of quick ideas I came up with on Friday.

It struck me while Ian was demonstrating Tweetdeck that it is only really effective as long as you can fit all the columns onto the same screen. There was a comment from the floor about having four computers and screens lined up next to one another so that all the required columns could be monitored in real time.
I saw that the fifth or sixth column requires a click to the side and that it can only really be monitored if the option is ticked to pop-up an alert if that column changes.  This is good but I thought about an alternative solution.

Master updates column

How about the option for a new 'column type' called 'master updates'.  This column would aggregate updates from 2, 3 6 or all of the other columns.  Depending on the volume of columns and how busy the streams are, this may not work as the updates could flow too quickly to keep up but as Ian demonstrated, doing a column based on the search term 'London' already suffers that problem.  A 'master updates' column wouldn't fix all scenarios but in certain situations I think it would work.  I'm thinking of a situation where there are a lot of search term columns but ones which are not expected to turn up many results.  You could end up with 30 or 40 columns (one for each term) but that would be virtually impossible to track.  The po-up alerts would do the trick but they only show one-tweet-at-a-time.  Putting them in a 'master updates' column means you can see at least 6 previous updates as well as the most recent one.

Linking columns

This comes as a follow-on from the master updates column.  It may become so useful that you may like to dedicate two columns to this task. This could be achieved if there were an option to make a column cover two or even three column widths. Tweets in column 1 would flow down the column to the end and rather than disappear, they would continue down column 2. My current tweetdeck view shows only 4 columns but linking those 4 together affords a visual display of at least 20 tweets.  All the source columns can be 'off screen' but there would be little need to flick over to view these as everything would be consolidated into the main view across the visible columns.

Lock column to the left

This is simply a way to ensure that a particular column is locked to the left regardless of how many other columns are scrolled left to right.  This would be particularly useful for my proposed 'master column' but could equally be useful for any column which is especially important above the others.

Archive column

This again is mainly with the 'master column' in mind but could be used universally.  Simply, a column ticked as 'archive' ensures the contents of that column are archived so that the column can be saved for offline use. This would be especially useful for the use we put Tweetdeck to.  Invariably, there is a need to return to the views experienced in real time at a later date. The archive could saved be direct to a local file which is viewable in an 'archive' column type.

Large screen view

There are a few twitter apps I've come across which reformat tweets so they show up well on a huge screen. They generally just keep the text size large which ensures they can be seen from a fair distance if displayed on a large screen or projected. This would be idea for the 'master updates' column because it could be displayed in this 'large screen' format for the benefit of a conference room, control room or press office where everyone needs to see the latest tweets as they come in. This option would allow the total number of tweets to be displayed at once - this could be one-at-a-time (which would be huge), or as many as 6 or 7.  It would also be really good if it works with displays that rotate to portrait mode. Most computers these days can handle dual displays so perhaps the main display would be the traditional tweetdeck setup and the second display could the large screen view.


Tim Smith said...

Useful post, thanks.

I'm looking into a way to get Tweetdeck running on a TV screen, so our press office can monitor various terms easily.

Sadly Tweetdeck don't have a digital TV app, which would seem like a no-brainer considering multiple columns is what TD is all about. Seems a pity to have to use a PC to drive the TV screen, but there seems to be no other option right now.

David White said...

Thanks for your comment Tim,
I guess most TVs these days have multiple inputs like HDMI and monitor so they are effectively monitors as well as TVs.
I'd suggest that you try the HDMI output from a laptop directly into the TV.