Posts Tagged ‘filtering’

New Mobile Twitter App for Managing Information Overload

Monday, February 8th, 2010

ReStream.me Mobile is now live!

ReStream.me Mobile is almost ready for launch. Soon you will have many of the great filtering and sharing features of ReStream.me every where you go.

Highlights include:

ReStream.me Mobile
  • Real-time Twitter Stream: Transforms tweets from your stream into web page titles.
  • Twitter Trends: See what links are trending from your stream.
  • Recommendations: Receive recommendations based on your interests.
  • Most Popular: See the most popular links currently being tracked by ReStream.me
  • FavMe: Just like ReStream.me, you can favorite people. The people you favorite influences the content ReStream.me recommends.
  • Highlights: A highlight area shows recent Tweets from the people you’ve favorited or content recommendations from ReStream.me
  • Tweet, ReTweet, Favorite Tweets, and more…

The ReStream.me mobile web app has been optimized for the iPhone. If you would like to preview this release, please send me an email and I’ll send you a link. If you run into issues using another mobile platform please let me know. I want to make this accessible to everyone but I don’t have other platforms to test on.

Search Multiple Tags in ReStream

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Yesterday, I added a new features to ReStream which allows you to search across multiple tags. Now when you go to a tag page.

Example: http://restream.me/tag/inspiration

You can add several tags in the search box.

Example: inspiration, history

Now your search can focus in on the topics you’re looking for.

Result: http://restream.me/tag/inspiration,%20history?time=8

Try it out and let me know what you think.

Twitter Social Media Account Suspended

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Update: Twitter has apologized for mistakenly suspending the @socialmediafltr account. The account is back up again for those who would like to follow news, articles, and blog posts related to social media. Thank you for your support!

One of the biggest problems with Twitter is that you can’t follow topics. If you want to see all of the social media related tweets on Twitter you can’t. You can follow social media lists but only a small percentage of the tweets are about social media. You can search for hash tags or keywords but these terms aren’t always part of a tweet and there is no guarantee the link actually goes to social media content.

After thinking about this for several months I finally came up with a solution.

Two days ago I created a new Twitter account called socialmediafltr. socialmediafltr leverages the filtering from ReStream.me to create an account which people could follow that retweeted links to social media content. The retweets didn’t change the tweet text at all and they used the old retweet style to give the author ful recognition. In less than 24 hours, with no promotion, it gained a nice number of followers, 60+, and was added to 3 people’s social media lists. Not bad for less than a day.

People found value in following an account focused exclusively on social media content. Unfortunately, Twitter disagreed and suspended the account without notice. It’s not clear why the account was suspended. Most likely it was automatically suspended based on some hard coded criteria that was detected by Twitter’s system. I’m trying to get clarification from Twitter but from what I can tell, the account violated the following spam rule:

“If your updates consist mainly of links, and not personal updates”

Personally, I don’t think that these tweets were spam but they weren’t personal updates either. Hopefully, I can get clarification and the account can be turned back on. I’d love to refocus my attention on improving the Twitter experience. If it can’t be turned back on then I’ll look for other ways to provide the same service.

What are your thoughts? Is setting up such an account in violation of Twitter? If so, how is it any different than the thousands of other automated Twitter accounts that don’t post personal updates?

Update: After waiting 5 days to hear back from Twitter on why the account was banned I’ve decided to start over with a new account. I’m not a very patient person and I think it’s crazy to have to wait up to 30 days to find out why my account has been suspended. If you’re interested in following our new Social Media filtered content account, check out twitter.com/socialmediaflt (Twitter has reactivate the account. You may follow us at twitter.com/socialmediafltr). It will have the same information as the old account but with fewer updates per hour to avoid the Twitter bots.

Why Micro Filters are the Future of the Web

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

In 2010, we need to find a better way to filter the web. It’s growing exponentially every day to the point that only the largest server farms can keep up.

Twitter’s API can’t keep up with it’s own traffic. Soon this will change when the firehouse is opened up to everyone but it will just push the problem further downstream. Developers are eager to have access to the firehouse of data but they won’t be able to process it all, nor should they try. And this is only for one piece of the real-time web puzzle. Factor in Facebook, Google Wave, Linked-In’s upcoming API, many more, and it becomes next to impossible for one company to filter and analyze everything.

To resolve this problem, we need micro filters.

What is a Micro Filter?

A micro filter is a filter that has a unique purpose and is reusable and available to anyone.

One example of a micro filter is a Twitter list. These lists are filters that web applications can use to narrow the firehouse and make information gathering manageable. But there’s one problem. Twitter lists don’t filter the information in a meaningful way. You can’t grab every Twitter list on marketing and gather all the marketing tweets. A marketing twitter list can be as diverse as Twitter itself and can overlap with many other lists outside of marketing.

This is why we need multiple micro filters to get the information we want. A series of filters – when put together – would narrow the focus of information to the data you need for your web application or research project. Running your marketing twitter lists through a marketing filter would narrow the focus and give you the marketing information you need.

Creating Micro Filters

Creating micro filters is very complex. I used Twitter lists as an example but this is one of the easier filters to build. The complexity increases when you try to create the “marketing” filter in the example above. How do you know what information in a Tweet is related to marketing?

There are several ways to do this:

  1. Hash Tags: Hash tags are great identifiers but they’re not popular enough to filter on. Too much information would be lost.
  2. Open API’s: Take the links from each Tweet, convert the URL to it’s long format, reference it in Delicious, and look for marketing tags. This works but it has a couple of downsides. First, it requires a lot of processing time. Second, the link may not be tagged in Delicious yet.

There isn’t a perfect solution but it’s clear that a combination of tactics are needed to build this “marketing” filter – tactics that go well beyond individuals categorizing other individuals in a social networking platform such as Twitter lists.

Further, several micro filters could be  put together to keep narrowing the focus. You could add a third filter to the example above that shows all marketing information shared within 5 miles of you. This location filter would be the third micro filter and it could be used an many different situations.

In 2010, I expect to see more filters become available to help people focus on the topics that interest them most. Looking at Twitter, it’s clear that filtering is going to become the next big development as people gather more followers, share more information, and expand their presence across more social media platforms.

Currently, Twitter is an unreliable platform for contacting people as the API can’t handle the streams of information going to its most popular residents. Further, at close to 300 million Tweets per week, there’s a lot of great information getting lost in the noise and this isn’t just an issue on Twitter. It’s happening everywhere which is why micro filters are the future of the web.

Filtering Active_Scaffold in Rails Using Drop Down Box

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

We use active_scaffold throughout the Marketing for Mavens application and love it. There are several instances where we wanted to filter the generated tables based on a selected item in a drop down box. Since we couldn’t find this process documented any where on the web, I’ve decided to highlight what we did to get this working.

First you’ll want to start with you drop down box. We used Rails observe_field to generate an onselect JavaScript action when an item was selected from the drop down box.

INDEX.HTML.ERB

<%= observe_field   :widget_widget_type_id,                       
        # The field to observe
:with => "'widget_type_id=' + escape(value)",                    
        # The input to validate :o n  => "onselect",                                               
        # The frequency in seconds to watch for changes
:url  => {:action => 'filter_widget', :controller => 'widgets' }, 
        # The action to call when changes occur
:update => :filter_widget
        # Name of the <div> to update
%>

<div id="filter_widget"><%= render :active_scaffold => 'widgets',
   :constraints => {:company_id => @company.id}, :condition => @condition %></div>

You will notice we created a <div> tag to hold the generated table. This is important because the filter will replace this code after the user selects an item from the drop down box, effectively filtering your results.

Now we need to update the widgets controller to handle the new “filter_widget” action.

WIDGETS_CONTROLLER.RB

def filter_widget
  @conditions = "widget_type_id=#{params[:widget_type_id]}"
  render :inline => "<%= render :active_scaffold => 'widgets',
     :constraints => {:company_id => #{@company.id}}, :conditions => @conditions %>"
end

def conditions_for_collection
  @conditions
end

condition_for_collection creates the initial conditions for the table. After a selection is made from the drop down, filter_widget is called and the <div> in the INDEX.HTML.ERB file is replaced with the new code. Now your table is filter accordingly.

When implementing this code you may receive an “ActionController::InvalidAuthenticityToken” error message. One fix for this is to use the following code in your controller.

protect_from_forgery :o nly => [:create, :update, :destroy]

This may make your application vulnerable to hackers so research the side effects before implementing to make sure it’s right for your environment.