Twellow.com is a new Twitter directory that gives everyone a single place to explore hundreds of thousands of Twitter members in dozens of communities easily and efficiently. The site was launched in Alpha this week and I took some time to chat with lead developer Matthew Daines about Twellow’s challenges, ideas, and future plans. It’s always fun to give some Lexington props!
Scott: Matthew thanks for taking a few minutes with me today!
Matthew: Glad to do it!
Scott: First, what new ways of slicing and dicing do you guys plan (e.g. follower/follow ratio, tweet frequency)… do you think you’ll come up with an “authority” rank of any kind?
Matthew: We’ve discussed a ranking system that would get deeper into a user’s actual activity within each category. Our future plans are to analyze what each user is talking about, and create a “Twellow Rank” based on the user’s overall activity and validity to the system. The future holds additional services beyond Twitter, so we’ll have a much broader view of each person which will help to provide a truer image of their overall social-media presence. We’re also going to be looking into geographic data to allow an even more refined drilling-down into niche data.
Scott: Any chances of creating user-created sub-communities (e.g. like linkedin or facebook) where people identify themselves as a part of conferences, etc., or perhaps enter into discussion sub-groups or Q&As?
Matthew: The sky’s the limit on these kinds of options. The ability for users to create and have deeper control over individual accounts is on our todo list. Allowing more intricate inter-personal connections, however, is not currently our focus. Twellow is a people directory, so our focus right now is to help people connect. These types of additional interactions are currently provided by other services such as Twitter, Pownce, Plurk, and FriendFeed, so right now we’re just trying to help people connect within the various spaces to people the otherwise might have no access to.
Matthew: Twellow does have an RSS feed for each category in the system. It’s currently updated based on Twitter updates we receive, which is currently a vastly-reduced capacity, but will have more validity once we get more consistent updates. This will continue on any future listings we might provide.
Scott: How have the tech challenges at Twitter affected you – and how much of a concern are those for Twellow?
Matthew: Twitter’s technical problems have led to a lot of bumps on the journey to getting the service functioning as we’d like, but we feel this will not be as big of an issue as the popularity of Twellow grows and other services are included in our indexing. Once we get the system to where people can add and edit their own information, then the current latency in user updates will become less of an issue.
Obviously Twitter has helped make Twellow what it is, but we don’t think it wise to put all our eggs in the proverbial basket. Twitter has been a great starting point, and we will continue to grow from here.
Matthew: As mentioned before, we want to get a broader snapshot of each user, so Plurk and FriendFeed are definietely possibilities. There are some issues with a lack of biographical info from systems other than Twitter, but once user self-editing is in place this won’t be a major issue. Duplicate entries into the system are a concern we are looking into, but this is something that has been addressed at other services, and we’re confident it won’t be a big problem.
Scott: Last Question: Where’d the name “Twellow” come from?
Matthew: The name Twellow was something Rich and I came up with together. We were discussing the whole concept in it’s early stages, and when I grasped Rich’s vision for a people directory, I made the connection to the yellow pages. While I was looking at the various “tw” apps associated with Twitter, the combination of Twitter and Yellow came together. The first name that came up was twellowpages.com, and we were going to go with that, but as I started looking more into it I thought a shorter name would be better. Twellow.com was available, so Rich jumped on it.
Scott: Matthew I’m sure you are slammed so I appreciate your time on this with me, and we will all be watching Twellow with great anticipation. Good luck!
Matthew: No problem and thanks.
Make sure and follow iematthew on Twitter to stay in touch with all things Twellow!