Monday, May 13, 2013

A Look at oneQube

Phew, okay . . . I think I'm recovered.

I'm participating in Bout of Books this week. It's a read-a-thon, and you can read all about it at my other blog.

But, since I have to write something for today here as well, I figured I'd use the opportunity to sort out my chat experience. See, the first Bout of Books Twitter chat was this afternoon, and it was . . . overwhelming, to say the least. I saved a transcript on oneQube (I'll get to that in a second), and while unfortunately it can't tell me how many participants we had, it does say that in the 65 minutes captured, there are a total of 1,969 tweets. That's roughly 30 a minute. Even given the fact that tweets can't be more than 140-characters and therefore are relatively short, that is a LOT of information coming at you.

So, how did I survive?

Well first of all, I was using oneQube's SmartStream to manage the chat. I know TweetChat is usually preferred (I've used it in the past myself), and is technically still up and running, but it's been glitchy lately, and is soon going to be going away entirely, so I wanted to take this new chat manager out for a spin.

The first downside compared to TweetChat is that you can't just jump right in, you have to actually register for an account. Weird, but whatever . . . maybe it's related to the changes Twitter is making, the reason TweetChat won't work starting June 11th (I think that was the date I heard). So, if you plan to use it for a chat, make sure you give yourself a minute or two to do that.

This Bout of Books chat was slightly more overwhelming than I would have liked as a shakedown, but all in all, the SmartStream did what it's meant to do -- captures all tweets with a given hashtag so you can view the whole thing as one big conversation, and adds that hashtag automatically (sort of) to your outgoing tweets.

TweetChat input

I say "sort of" because, while TweetChat simply reduces your character limit by the appropriate amount and then literally adds it automatically, this one puts the hashtag in your tweet box. So it's possible to delete or change it accidentally . . . or intentionally, I suppose.

SmartStream input

The other thing I discovered (early on, luckily) is that when you "reply" to someone, it doesn't actually reply. It adds the person's Twitter handle to the tweet box, but when it goes through, it doesn't stay attached to the conversation. This is SUPER annoying (to me, anyway), so whenever I saw something I wanted to reply to, I'd open the link to that particular tweet in another tab, and then reply through Twitter itself to keep conversations intact. I also kept my own mentions page open in a separate tab for ease of responding.

(I'm sure this is all super-confusing if you're not on Twitter. Or maybe even if you are.)

I honestly wondered if I'd be better off just using TweetDeck for chat purposes, and I'm still considering it for the future, since oneQube isn't quite the TweetChat replacement I'd hoped for. But even though the hashtagging isn't as automatic as I'd like, it's still better than having to remember to paste it in every time. Not to mention, on TweetDeck it's too easy to get distracted by the other columns. If anything I'd probably just use Twitter itself. (Crazy talk, I know.)

But the other big plus for oneQube is the ability to instantly save a transcript, so I can go back and read over it later . . . and with a chat as massive as the one this afternoon, that's a very good thing.


  1. Hi there, Robert Moore here, Founder of Internet Media Labs, the creator of oneQube. I really appreciate that you took the time to take the Qube for a test drive and write a review about it. User feedback is crucial to us!

    In response some of your feedback:

    1. Account Registration - As we intend to fully support our service with updates and new features, it was important to us to capture a minimum about of user information on the first use of the system. This is common with most free platforms, Hootsuite and Tweetdeck included. TweetChat was really an exception to what is considered a standard business practice.

    2. Automatic Hashtag Placement - I have to admit I like this feature about Tweetchat too - you don't have to think about it, and you can't mess it up. But I also like to have the flexibility to place text both before and after a hashtag sometimes. Ultimately, I think this feature is about user preference, so this could be a user choice in the near future.

    3. Reply and Conversation Threading - This is a very important issue to both me as a heavy Chat participant and for us as a platform that will service Chat communities and power Twitter users. I won't bore you with the complex technical aspects of this, but the new api rules of Twitter made it a challenge to incorporate conversation threading into this iteration of the platform. For me, it is probably a top three improvement, maybe number 1 depending on my mood, for us to execute on. It will happen, just a matter of when!

    4. Transcript on Demand - Thanks for giving us some props on this feature. I think it is a powerful one, and will be greatly enhanced in the coming weeks. Perhaps it even offsets some of the not so optimal features you mentioned in your post :)

    We are in this for the long haul, and are committed to providing the best user experience possible. As a heavy Twitter chat participant, the things you want are things I want as well, give us a little time and we will get there for sure.

    If you ever have any questions about oneQube, please feel free to contact me directly. Looking forward to hearing from you, perhaps I'll see you in a chat one day.


    Robert Moore
    Internet Media Labs

    1. Thanks for the response. Man, now I feel rather inadequate... I know this post is sort of a jumble of thoughts. If I ever do a more coherent review in the future, company feedback will be high on the list of positives!

    2. Cheers! :)