Tag Archives: conversation

#Tweetdeck – how to filter columns for conversations

TweetDeck is an app owned by Twitter that helps make sense of your Tweets by allowing you to filter and display them according to your own needs. For example, I’m currently having a really interesting conversation with @YorgosKC and @DavidGaughran about politics and the birth of democracy in the ancient city-state of Athens. Trouble is, I’m missing half the conversation because there is no way of tracking a conversation in Twitter.

Enter TweetDeck. It won’t let you track conversations either…but it does have the smarts to create a workaround.

To start using TweetDeck, simply go to:

https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/#

The TweetDeck banner screen displays a button to sign in to Twitter. Do it. Essentially, you are in Twitter, but you’re viewing it through a ‘shell’ that has some special functions, such as the ability to display different types of information, side-by-side, in columns.

What you can see in the screenshot below, is my TweetDeck screen after I removed the default columns and replaced them with 2 Mentions columns:

tweetdeck-filters

The reason for selecting the Mentions columns was so I could filter who mentioned whom. In the left hand column are tweets by David Gaughran in which he mentions Yorgos KC. [Users: By @DavidGaughran, mentioning @ YorgosKC]. As I am part of the conversation anyway, I don’t have to worry about him mentioning me.

In the right hand column, I’ve filtered the tweets so that I only see the tweets in which Yorgos KC mentions David Gaughran. [Users: By @YorgosKC, mentioning @DavidGaughran].

I admit that filtering the tweets this way is tedious, but at least I can see all the tweets of this three-way conversation in one place.

In case anyone wants to do the same thing, here’s a quick how-to:

tweetdeck-filters-4Clicking this small icon at the top right of your column will open a kind of settings menu. At the bottom of the settings menu is the option to ‘Remove’ the column. I removed all the existing columns so I could force TweetDeck to display my new columns side-by-side.

To display new columns of your choice, click the ‘+’ button on the narrow menu pane on the left of the screen. The following popup will display:

tweetdeck-filters-3

Each option is essentially a category of tweet. The ‘Mentions’ circled in red is for single Twitter accounts. If you have more than one account, select the ‘Mentions (all accounts)’ option.

Once you have your chosen column in place, click the settings button to display the menu options:

tweetdeck-users1

Click the arrow as shown to select the ‘Users’ option. With the Users sub-menu displayed, click inside the ‘By’ box to display further options:

tweetdeck-users2

The option we want is ‘specific user…’ Click. Now you can enter the Twitter handle of the person you’re interested in:

tweetdeck-users3

Type in the name preceded by the ‘@’ symbol and hit ENTER on your keyboard.

Next, do the same thing for the person mentioned by your first…mentionee?

tweetdeck-users5

Again, hit ENTER when you have finished typing in the name. Now the only tweets displayed in that column will be those in which person 1 mentions person 2.

Repeat the entire process to display the tweet in which person 2 mentions person 1.

As I said, it’s a workaround and not terribly elegant, but it’s better than giving a 3rd Party App access to your Twitter account. There are apps out there that will track conversations for you…but you have to give them access to your account and allow them to tweet in your name. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a no-no.

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 

 

 

 


#Chatbots – and we need them because…?

Okay, all I know about chatbots is what I’ve been reading on Medium lately, and the frustrating experience of ringing my utility company and being forced to answer the STUPID questions of its chatbot.

You know how it goes. You ring and either have to wait forever for the call to be picked up, or the chatbot answers and asks for your account number when all you want is some general information. Grrrr….

So you dig out a utility bill and spit out the account number, knowing full well that if you get through to a real person they will ask you for the number again anyway.

Then the utility company bot asks you to explain the reason for your call. You grit your teeth and try to think of a one or three word description and e.n.u.n.c.i.a.t.e it as clearly as possible while growling in the back of your throat.

What happens next? The chatbot either mishears you, or simply doesn’t have a response for your particular query and asks if you want to speak to a customer service representative…

-face palm-

Do I want to speak to a real, live person? Oh god…

Anyway, if you look at this infographic from Medium, you will see a comparison between a chatbot ‘conversation’ and the same query via a simple Google search:

chatbots vs google

To me, there is no point in carrying on a long, inane Q&A ‘conversation’ with a chatbot when a word or two is all I need to get all the information I need from Papa Google. But am I just being an elitist nerd?

I rather suspect I am. In fact, I rather suspect that most people who regularly use computers are elitist nerds. Why? Because using a computer is actually a lot harder than learning how to use apps on a smartphone. That is why smartphone use has skyrocketed world wide. It is also the reason some pundits believe the days of the desktop [computer] are over. Why pay so much and have to go through such a steep learning curve to do things a smartphone can do so much easier?

There is a part of me that wants to scream that what a smartphone can do is just a fraction of what a ‘proper’ computer can do, but the words barely form before I get a flash of the early 80’s and the emergence of the personal computer. Back then, PCs were much less powerful than mainframes, and I’m sure a lot of old school programmers could not see why everyone couldn’t just learn FORTRAN or something…

So…smartphones may be to the future what PCs were to the past because they are:

  • cheaper,
  • convenient,
  • portable in a real sense,
  • easy to use, and
  • a growth market

But I hope, truly ruly hope that chatbots are just the toddler stage of a technological progression that will end [?] with real voice recognition and real AI support.

Until then, I’ll stick with old school search engines and my antiquated desktop because…I’m an elitist dinosaur with poor eyesight and a pathological hatred of chatbots.

cheers

Meeks


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