August 16, 2008

YooPlace Captures Twitter's Top Conversations, Lets You Reply

With Twitter's tweaking its API limits, you've seen a virtual tug of war between the popular microblogging service and the many different sites that have sprung up to capture the most discussed links and topics. In the last few months, we've seen sites like AlphaTwitter and Tweetmeme arrive, each finding middling success. But quietly, a new service called YooPlace is looking to not only show popular discussions, capturing all matter of shortened URL services to resolve back to a single original, but also setting you up to reply, either to the original tweet, or any of those that have followed suit.

On Friday, Jesse Stay highlighted Twitter's ability to enable threaded comments, a feature long desired, and one that could eventually see the disappearance of the omnipresent @ symbol used to connect users. While it might be some time until we see that on Twitter directly, YooPlace has designed their site to make conversations by way of Twitter seem threaded.

YooPlace Is Like Twitter Meets Hacker News.

The YooPlace main site looks a lot like the popular Hacker News, complete with tan background, items showing rank by number, and even a triangle on the left by each item in the same font. Clicking on the triangle, like in Hacker News, votes the story up a point, presumably higher in the rankings. But most of the scoring comes from the tweets themselves, which are shown as "comments". The first Twitter user to post the URL is shown as the originator, even if they are not the blog author themselves. Clicking the "comments" link displays all the following tweets, as well as their avatars, with the ability to respond in line.

A Popular Item from YooPlace

As you would expect, the most popular items ranked by YooPlace are blog posts from popular blogs, including TechCrunch, Engadget, and Mashable. But there are also tweets that call out recent earthquakes, political news, and the Olympics. You can also see the items which hit the top of YooPlace by following YooPlaceTop on Twitter.

You Can Reply From Within YooPlace

The author of YooPlace is Thomas Bikeev, a Belgian, who tips his hat to Hacker News as inspiration for YooPlace, and saying the data is provided by Twitter's API as well as Twitter Search (formerly Summize).

Ranking popular topics on Twitter has been done before, and the magic formula to "get it right" is still eluding folks. But I really like the ability to click on comments and see just who said what about the topic, as well as aggregating the different URL shorteners. With so many new ones cropping up, it can get easy to miss who is talking about your posts or a specific issue. And the fact you can respond in line is very interesting. We'll see if YooPlace can do more than the others have, and get real traction with the new features before Hacker News sues them and wants their interface back.