Monday, February 02, 2009

CNN - Facebook Mashup: We Should Be Able to Do the Same Thing

Last week I was at the EduCon 2.1 conference. It was a GREAT event, in no small part because of the streaming video of every session and the back-channel chat. But in most sessions I was in the back-channel chat was fragmented. Some were using the chat from the Ustream page, some from CoverItLive, and others through Twitter.

So, I've been thinking about the CNN - Facebook mashup from the presidential inauguration that was so amazingly powerful. It was an international event that you got to talk about with your own network by logging into your Facebook account on the video page. It was simply brilliant.

There's no reason we should be able to do this for any event we attend or hold with streaming video. I don't think this is rocket science, but I am at an impasse and am hoping the network will pick up where I have gotten stuck and figure this out. All we really need is a web service that lets you embed the code of the streaming video and then place a Twitter widget that the watching user can use to log into using their own Twitter account. Then any event could have a page where the discussion could take place with our own twitter network.

Pageflakes should be able to do this, but they are down and any assurances that they will be up again are muted by the fact that there is not even a "we'll be back soon" message on their page. It's just gone. Netvibes is confusing me--what used to be a Universe page is now a shared page (??) and I don't see a way of having the Twitter widget allow for the individual viewer to put in their own account information. Wiki services like Wikispaces could let you build the page, and would be a great way to track and coalesce all the different event pages, but it would require a Twitter widget that didn't have the username/password built into the widget, but which could be specified by the user at the time the page was accessed.

Any ideas?! I think this would be an amazing step forward for conference/event attending and viewing.


  1. Steve - I agree wholeheartedly! In fact when CES was happening in Vegas a few weeks back I came across the same thing here:

    I think this one works really well too and would love to find someone who could help us Independent School folks manage a site similar to these for all our events across the nation.

    I'll think more on this but would love to hear how your research goes as well.

    Jason Ramsden
    CTO @ Ravenscroft School

  2. @Jason: that's close, but it's not the exact same thing. What is being done at that site is to place widgets or feeds with a search term--and that's actually very do-able on Netvibes and I do it for things that I care about. Like, when I was at EduCon, I created a page that showed any Twitter messages with different variants of the EduCon name so I could see anything posted about the conference. In Netvibes, just search Twitter in the "add" area and I think you'll find the tools for this.

    What I'm hoping to do is to allow any user to watch a live stream of an event and see all of the tweets of his or her own network. However, in the absence of that, setting it up the way that you have described would not be terrible, but it would require that anyone Tweeting would have to use a standard phrase in their Tweets to have them show up. A positive to this approach would be finding people that weren't already in your network...

    Thanks for responding!

  3. Hello Steve,

    Is this what you're looking for?

    This is a page that contains streamed video with a Twitter widget and even a separate chat widget for good measure. Having worked with Meebo during OpenPD, I can suggest that we'd probably want to go with a different widget (possibly the Ustream chat - something either way that's easier to moderate).

    The trick I think you were missing is the "Anything Flake" in Pageflakes where you can add any piece of code to create a flake.

    Pretty powerful stuff.

  4. @Darren: well, the trick I was missing was that Pageflakes was not up for the last several days. Hurrah! Way to go, Darren!

  5. @Darren: when I try to sign in to the Twitter widget, it doesn't do anything... ?

  6. @Darren: OK, it looks like I have to copy the page to my account before I can log into the Twitter widget. But this is PERFECT. For any public or streaming event, to have the back-channel be my own Twitter network is very, very cool. You could also add a widget for a Twitter search to search for references to the event to see Tweets from people who aren't in your network.

  7. @Darren: even when I copied the page, the Twitter widget told me my username/password combo wasn't right. Could it be trying to hold onto your data?

  8. Ugh! I think there must be a bug with the Pageflakes Twitter flake - I get the same results here when I visit my public "Pagecast."

    There's GOT to be some work-around. Also, I wonder if we could build this same kind of thing using Netvibes or some other service. I don't have time to play with it now but will try to look at it tomorrow when I get a minute.

  9. @Darren: I tried Netvibes, and you'll see in the post the limitations I encountered... But I agree--there HAS to be a way!

  10. Yeah, when I'm logged in to Pageflakes, it let's me "edit" the flake settings and enter in my Twitter account information.

    So, Steve, you say that if you copy the flake to your Pageflake accounts then it doesn't let you log in to Twitter, either? Frustrating. We'll find a fix...

  11. Great article. I have been wondering the same thing...I'd like to do something similar for an upcoming conference. I'll let you know what we come up with...

  12. Alright, now this should work:

    Instead of using Pageflakes' Twitter flake, I've just used an Anything flake and inserted an iframe with the Twitter mobile site. I guess you could really use whatever web-based Twitter client you wanted but the mobile client is pretty clean (I wish it included avatars, though).

    No good?


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