In the end, I didn’t have to go very far to find a Mac-native Twitter client that was capable of real-time User Streams; there was one already in my Applications folder: Echofon for Mac. I had forgotten that they had opened User Streams up to every user (and not just paid Pro users). After self-updating, User Streams was turned on for all my accounts. Echofon is tiny and sits out of the way — really what I want from a Twitter client (though interface-wise I still think the enigmatic Tweetie for Mac wins). TweetDeck is just too immersive for passive Twitter usage, which is more of my mode these days.
For as much as I think TweetDeck is an excellent client, I would still far prefer to run a Mac-native client rather than an Adobe AIR one (and please note that I felt the same way when I was on Windows primarily — this is not an Apple vs. Adobe hit). There are some great native Mac clients out there, but I’ve yet to find one running User Streams for real-time Tweets, and my expectations now outpace the periodic refresh that most clients offer. (It’s why I have had a very love-hate relationship with Tweetie for Mac.) Are you running one? Did you write one? I’d love to hear about it.
I’ve been fortunate enough to test the TweetDeck User Streams Preview in a private beta over the last month, which enables TweetDeck to display a constant flow of Tweets, unencumbered by API rate limiting, in true real time. Last week User Streams entered public beta, and if you haven’t tried it, do it. Real-time Twitter is something Twitter veterans haven’t seen since May of 2008, and a vast majority of Twitter users have never really experienced it (unless they were among the few to turn on SMS updates for everybody). While this isn’t honest-to-God Twitter over XMPP (though the Streaming API will make such an application possible once more), this isn’t a bad alternative. Give it a try and let me know if you are overwhelmed — I know I was at first (I follow over 1700 people and bots on Twitter).
As you probably can tell by my lack of activity here, I’ve been pretty busy with work over at ReadWriteWeb, especially on getting everything squared away for our unconference events. Hot on the heels of a very successful ReadWriteWeb Mobile Summit, RWW’s doing its first East Coast event, the Real-Time Web Summit, tomorrow in NYC as part of Internet Week. RWW has partnered with Justin.tv for the event broadcast, and it should be our best yet. We’ve worked hard on our events and they’ve brought a lot of good cheer and geekhood, and we expect the Real-Time Summit tomorrow to be excellent. I’ll be watching from home on Justin.tv, keeping all the tech reasonably happy and sane — and hopefully learning a few things as well! We kick off at 8:30am — won’t you join us?
The Collecta blog has posted a neat case study about the Charleston flooding that happened a couple weeks ago, and how people used Collecta to tie together information from places like TheDigitel and @chswx (the Charleston Weather Twitter account I run) to keep up to date on the situation. I’m a big fan of Collecta, and an even bigger fan of the power of real-time technology to enable community journalism, so this case study is a fantastic. Also, if you haven’t read it already, Christopher Zorn’s account of his usage of Collecta to guide his family through the floods is another great example.
In advance of a doozy of a weather day, I’ve spent a portion of my evening revamping the Charleston Weather blog. I’ve installed the latest P2, Automattic’s excellent real-time WordPress theme, and I’ve also (with any luck) enabled PubSubHubbub for posts to the blog. Weather information is exactly what the real-time web is designed for, I think — tomorrow may be a great test of that. So, especially if you’re in Charleston, follow the blog tomorrow along with the alerts we’ll have on Twitter, Identi.ca, and Facebook. Hopefully things will turn out better than the strongly-worded alerts have been telling the story, but it’s tough to say.
Almost three years ago (it’s been that long?), I went to a seminar on crisis communication put on by College of Charleston’s Communication Advisory Council. During the seminar, we broke into groups and acted like we were PR for Firestone, charged with cleaning up the mess brought about by the tire blowouts that caused several high-profile Explorer accidents some years ago. The key takeaway? Present a united front, and get it right the first time.
Now, keep in mind that all this happened in the age before social media came about. While the fundamentals we learned that day are the same, Amazon’s current #amazonfail plight is demonstrating that the rules of crisis communication have changed.