Today is the day that Twitter officially retires version 1 of its API, a move that has caused confusion and concern for the Twitter community, especially in terms of its impact on tools that support Twitter Chats, which initially announced that they would not be able to support the new API.
But with a series of recent announcements, it turns out that the Twitter Chat community now has several choices. If you’re a regular participant in one of the 600+ active Twitter Chats, or you enjoy live-tweeting around events, here are your options:
Tchat.io is a streamlined chat tool that offers all the same basic functionality that Twitter chat users need to participate in active hashtag discussions. You authenticate via Twitter, enter your hashtag, and the tool displays the stream of tweets around that hashtag. A clean,simple interface lets you reply, retweet or favorite individual tweets; user names are linked to open up an individual user’s profile on Twitter.com. As new tweets are added to the stream, they appear in realtime. Sending a tweet is easy, and the tool automatically adds the hashtag to the tweet you’re sending. Tchat.io is built using HTML5 with a responsive design, so it will work well on smartphones or tablets as well as laptops.
The platform was announced yesterday by Congo Labs, creator of Twitter tools such as Twilk.com; founder Kyle Mulka says the company wanted to offer a way for users to participate in Twitter chats “without the clutter of more bloated Twitter clients.” I’ve test-driven the tool over the last couple of days, and it works: an easy, smooth interface that puts the focus on the conversation.
After initially announcing that it would not be able to support the API changes, TweetChat was acquired by Internet Media Labs, creator of analytics platform oneQube and other realtime tools. The company has big plans to support realtime conversations and engagement, and yesterday announced that it would update TweetChat to support the new API. For the many users for whom TweetChat was their go-to client for Twitter chats, this will be welcome news.
As of this morning, a message on the TweetChat home page says that “this work will be complete in the next several days or so.” The old TweetChat interface is still there, and appears to be working, so it will be interesting to see how the update affects the tool. In addition to updating TweetChat, the company also plans to host a calendar of Twitter Chats.
Internet Media Labs has also built a more advanced tool for Twitter Chats. In addition to supporting Chat functionality, oneQube SmartStream also offers realtime analytics about the conversation around the hashtag, and leverages some of the social relationship management features from oneQube. We posted a detailed review of SmartStream last month. If you’re an advanced user, social media or community manager, or if you host an active Twitter chat, some of the tool’s features–such as the ability to highlight key users or save transcripts of your chat–will make it essential.
Let me know if you find any other good tools for Twitter Chats that we should check out!
UPDATE: Literally moments after posting this, I received a press release with information about another chat client from Twubs. I haven’t had a chance to play with the tool much, but am adding it here so you can see all the options available.
Twubs creates branded hashtag landing pages and builds Tweet walls for live events and they, too, have released a free API-compliant Twitter chat tools today. This tool also offers more advanced features to Twitter Chat organizers, in addition to supporting the chat itself and claiming a robust infrastructure to handle heavy traffic loads.
Twubs Twitter Chat Tools allow chat organizers to create a public, branded homepage for their Twitter Chat and then add their chat to a global calendar. The tool offers SPAM filtering, and the Twubs interface separates out host messages from the regular feed, displaying the host feed in a separate and designated area above the feed. This is designed to allow participants to more easily follow the conversation; people joining the chat late can quickly get up to speed on the conversation by viewing the host’s Tweets.
According to the company’s announcement, the Twubs infrastructure is “built on top of the latest cloud computing technologies,” and is “specifically designed to handle the large traffic spikes Twitter Chats can create. As heavy loads are encountered, Twubs is designed to scale horizontally and automatically. All components are deployed with enough margin to handle a spike, while the additional resources come online.”
Interested users and businesses can get started and schedule their chats at http://twubs.com/twitter-chats.
The latest entrant is from Nestivity, which today launched the ability to host Tweetcasts — live Twitter chats around multimedia content. More details in our post.