Radio Festival Back Channel

I’ve been using Twitter for a while, it’s a microblogging tool that lets you post and access Facebook-status like updates on a selection of devices an applications. I’ve got quite a few friends on there and when you glance at the recent updates it’s nice to see what people have been up to. However, unlike FB status updates, Twitter users are a bit more active and if at a conference, or watching a TV show, they can be sending out lots of updates.

Off the back of Twitter, one of the services i’ve been using is Summize, a Twitter search engine that lets you see what people are saying about a certain topic. In fact after watching Doctor Who this week, Summize was the first place I went to see all the reactions to the cliffhanger.

Anyway, with Radio Festival coming up, I wondered if there was a way to combine Twitter and Summize to allow people to post and read comments from people who were there.

After a bit of playing I created an RSS feed of the phrase #radiofestival, I then set up a Radio Festival twitter feed – @radiofest08 – and then used twitterfeed.com service to push the updates from one to another. That way we grabbed the message of anyone who used #radiofestival in their post, but allowed anyone at all to follow the conversation on their mobile or at twitter.com/radiofest08.

Whilst this wasn’t a bad bluetack solution, Twitterfeed only updated every 30 minutes, which I thought might stunt the conversation a little – so after a chat with Dave – he amazingly (and quickly) knocked up some code that did the job every five minutes.

The result was brilliant – over 180 updates over the few days including some very funny posts and lots of people following along either through text, on the website or through a sidebar on Radio Today. One of the things that was great about it was how it was self supporting and generating, people took part as and when which gave it a great dynamic. Definitely something worth trying again.

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