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We’ve written extensively about how tweets seriously lack context, due, at least in part, to the inherently disjointed nature of the Twitter network. To read a conversation in its entirety, it requires a lot of clicking back and forth between people’s Twitter pages to follow the thread. But there are sites out there that aim to solve Twitter’s disjointed conversation problem by threading people’s “@” replies to one another into a single stream. Since this particular issue is one of our pet peeves, we wanted to see how one of the latest offerings, Twitoaster (a favorite of New York Times writer David Pogue), stacked up against the likes of Tweader and Tweet Convo.
What sets Twitoaster apart is that it offers analytics about how many replies a Twitter user has received, both by the hour and on a weekly basis. It also provides a global ranking of the Twitter users that have received the most replies that week. The analytics charts are all embeddable, which is an additional bonus. Twitoaster’s Founder Arnaud Meunier said he plans to monetize the site by charging companies and advertisers for access to its analytics. Currently, Meunier is self-funding Twitoaster.
When it comes to displaying threaded conversations, the Twitoaster site displays a Twitter user’s public timeline and there’s a yellow box on the left side of each of their tweets that displays the number of replies that tweet received. If you click on the yellow box, the conversation thread is displayed below. Both Tweader and Tweet Convo, on the other hand, prompt you to paste a person’s Twitter Status ID (the number at the end of a person’s Twitter status URL) into the search box to view a threaded conversation. Once the search is completed, the conversation is shown beneath the search box.
One of Twitoaster’s biggest drawbacks — the lack of a search option — will be fixed this week. Right now you can only see certain Twitter users’ threaded conversations if you happen upon them on the site. Twitoaster is releasing a search feature on Thursday, which will make it easier to find people’s threaded conversations or specific words mentioned in tweets. Still, Meunier’s limited resources may cause Twitoaster to run into trouble if another formidable competitor enters the space (Case in point: the closure of Quotably.)