Saturday, May 21, 2011

Twitter Means Never Having to Say I'm Sorry #edtech

OK, that title is a bit of sarcasm.  Because I'm sorry Twitter, but tonight you have made my life difficult and I'm not happy about it.  Anyone who knows me, knows I am obsessed with micro-blogging and probably have more blue birds swirling around my head than a cartoon character that just got knocked over the head with an anvil.  I digress...as I compose.
So, why am I upset with Twitter? Because they seem to keep changing the rules of their API, and breaking many 3rd party apps in the process.  For example: tonight's post was and still is about a utility that enables you to archive Twitter conversations via hashtag! TweetDoc does an amazing job with this.  You can simply type in a hashtag and TweetDoc will find each occurrence on the timeline and build an beautiful PDF (example).  That builds a list of the people who used the hashtag, the trending words for that hashtag and up to 500 tweets that were sent.  The problem is because you are limited to 500 updates (likely do to the number of API calls 3rd party apps can make - but don't quote me), if you are using Twitter as a back channel for a large event or a hash chat, you better build a new Tweetdoc every few hours.
But, if you don't think about it in advance good luck trying to recapture all the knowledge.  I must have looked at 15 different online apps tonight claiming they could do the job.  Some had been shut down for violating Twitter's TOS (OK, I get that).  But others, just were to limited in their scope.
I even download and tried Archivist but it only went back so far in time as well.  So what did I end up doing, in order to capture the Twitterstream from today's #edcampchicago? I ended up going to search.twitter.com and manually copying and pasting 50 tweets per page for 30 (yes I said 30 pages) and pasting it into a word document!  Come on Twitter really?  OK, I got the app out for tonight and entered my frustrations in one post.  Mission accomplished!
I'll be posting a reflection about a marvelous day spent at #edcampchicago tomorrow.  After I've had some time to reflect.
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