Tweet the Public
Twitter has proven to be an effective way for the average Internet user to get @ your favorite NBA player or indie rocker. And yet as the site grows, the noise of individual tweets is being drowned out. Enter Thunderclap, a Twitter app from Chinatown-based De-De (for “design and development,” not the Chinese word for “little brother”).
Yesterday, Rolling Stone writer, noisemaker and hero-journalist Matt Taibii sent out the inaugural Thunderclap at noon, causing 1,921 people to tweet simultaenously at Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) in order to entreat the pair to keep their hands off the Dodd-Frank Act (and also plug Mr. Taibbi’s recent article, “How Wall Street Killed Financial Reform“). The tweets were exposed to a combined 4 million people, Thunderclap estimates.
Thunderclap is a platform for people who want to send a directed petition signed by a crowd of people to a specific person or group via Twitter. Post a tweet, state your case, and ask others to join you—and if they do, it’ll trigger a mass of identical tweets all at the same time. Somewhat like Kickstarter, the app requires a message to reach a tipping point for the trick to work. Hopeful Thunderclappers must set a minimum number of supporters—Mr. Taibbi set his at 500—and a timeframe to reach the goal. If no one’s interested, the Thunderclap fails.
Cody Brown and Kate Ray graduated from NYU in 2010, taught themselves to code and built Kommons–a platform for crowdsourcing questions through Twitter and attempting to peer pressure an answer from public personalities. It didn’t, as they say, get traction. So they built another thing, “Nerd Collider,” a platform for hosting text-centric discussions between experts on the web, sort of like the New York Times’s Opinionator blog. Their latest product, Scroll, is a simple single-page HTML editor that allows publishers to lay out a fancy-looking page that mimics the flexibility designers have for formatting on the printed page. Bonus: the web page is automatically-formatted to look as good on the web as it does on the iPad.
About six weeks ago, a pair of New York Times developers met with founders at question-and-answer site/discussion forum 2.0 start-up Quora in order to “brainstorm how the organizations might work together.” Just as the Times has tried to maintain journalistic loftiness in the age of slideshows and other internet tabloidism, Quora launched as a counterpoint to content farms like Yahoo Answers–so it makes sense that the Times is attracted to the platform. The paper is dipping its toes in this week by hosting a discussion there with three Business Day reporters who will be answering questions related to their recent books.
NYU media grads turned start-up kids Cody Brown and Kate Ray just launched a thing called Nerd Collider, a white-label site for discussing specific things with specific people. Similar to Quora, Nerd Collider nests responses with some comments hidden by default; it also has a voting system and requires Twitter authentication like the Q&A site.
The Q&A site Quora has been getting a lot of attention lately thanks to a review by a high profile tech blogger, and recently hit the half-million user mark.
The increased attention on Quora reminds us of two New York companies: one old, one new.
Ask.com, formerly Ask Jeeves, recently pivoted to Read More