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TweetGrid – Review and Suggestions

I’ve been on Twitter since the end of 2006. In that time it has grown from a curiosity to a plaything to a valuable part of my business and personal life. I can’t even begin to fully enumerate the number of different ways that it has been of value to me. From keeping track of important new developments in the cloud computing space, to keeping up with the activities and antics of a bunch of followers, to helping me to plan and to make the most of each business trip, real-time, world-wide messaging is certainly a valuable tool.

A few months ago I started to use a cool new web site called TweetGrid. TweetGrid has given me the ability to watch conversations about each of the Amazon Web Services in real time. I have set up a grid of searches, 3 wide and 2 high, with individual panes for AWS, jeffbarr, EC2, S3, SimpleDB, and CloudFront.

There’s no better way to watch the global conversation around a product; if you are not doing this, you are missing out. People are going to talk about your product; the question is, are you listening?

When someone talks about one of our web services, I know about it within a second or two. I can re-tweet it to my own followers. If there’s a link to a longer story I can set it aside for blogging on the AWS blog or post it to the AWS Buzz, or I can track down the author and ask for more information. If someone has a complaint about one of the services I can pass it along to our support team and they can investigate. We track down sales leads, get the word on new AWS-powered applications, and do our best to keep our ears to the ground so that we know what people are saying about us. Other AWS Team members on Twitter include Werner Vogels, Mike Culver, Simone Brunozzi, Martin Buhr, Deepak Singh, and Satyen.

Of course, cool as it is, I do have a few suggestions for TweetGrid:

  • The ability to create more columns in the grid. My monitor is 1920 pixels wide and could easily accommodate 4 or perhaps even 5 columns.
  • The ability to filter out certain sources on a global basis. Right now this can be done using the -from: option on each search. I would like to filter out a few bothersome re-tweeters across all of my searches.
  • The ability to store all of my searches persistently on a server so that I can have the same grid on my home desktop, my work desktop, and my travel laptop. This could be done very easily using Amazon SimpleDB. In fact, I think that the Twitter infrastructure itself could be used to pass messages between the browser and a hypothetical TweetGrid server.

Given that we are coming up on the 10 year anniversary of the publication of the Cluetrain, there’s no better time to start paying more attention to its 95 theses. The first one says that “Markets are conversations.” Here’s your way to watch, and to participate, in those conversations!