Jun 11

Today — June 11th — marks the launch of the new Twitter API version 1.1. While it might sound like news that only hardcore techies might be interested in, in reality, it can have an effect on all of us who regularly attend Twitter parties or Twitter chats.

First of all, only tools that use the new API will work. Which means, if you have a favorite Twitter ‘aggregator’ (such as TweetChat or TweetGrid), it’s possible that it won’t work correctly with the new API.

tchatioThat’s why today we’d like to introduce you to a web-based program that was designed specifically with the new API in mind: www.tchat.io

Developed by a company called Congo Labs, tchat.io is a free program that is as easy to use as any other aggregator: just visit the tchat.io website and enter the hashtag you wish to follow. You’ll be taken to a screen with a single-column that lists all tweets using that hashtag as they come in. Just click the ‘sign in’ button in the upper right corner to authenticate using your Twitter account (no need to create a separate account with tchat.io), so you’ll be able to tweet from this page as well. Like other aggregators, you’ll be able to tweet freely without worrying about adding the hashtag each time, since it will automatically be added for you. In this case, if you want to send a tweet, just click on the “tweet” box at the top and a box will pop up allowing you to send your tweet from there. You can also reply, retweet and favorite the tweets of others right from this page.

As of this writing, tchat.io does not yet allow you to create multiple columns to follow hosts, panelists or mentions of your own account, however they are considering working on this feature for future releases. You’ll still have to have a window (or two, or three) open on Twitter if you want to do that (which can be cumbersome).

According to Kyle Mulka, founder of Congo Labs, you can use tchat.io on any sized device including laptops, tablets, and smartphones because it uses HTML 5 with a responsive design. At the very least, it’s great news that Kyle and his team have created such a flexible a program that’s easy for all of us to use and that is sure to work with the new API.

“When we saw that TweetChat was unlikely to continue operation, we immediately shifted gears and started working on a solution,” said Mulka. “Online communities have been around for a long time, and will continue to be around far into the future. I’m excited to see how these online communities evolve and improve. We, at Congo Labs, hope to play a big part in building real-time communication tools for these online communities.”

UPDATE: We have also learned that Twubs.com is also compatible with the new Twitter API. (See article from Mashable). This also offers users a single-column hashtag aggregator. For Twitter party & chat hosts, it also allows hosts to create custom landing pages and register their hastag. Learn more on Twubs.com.

Twitter parties and chats have been around for years now and are only continuing to increase in number and frequency. It’s nice that there are companies like Congo Labs that are supporting these chats by keeping up with changes to both Twitter API and how people use Twitter to communicate.

If you are a Twitter party host who is looking for a multi-grid Twitter chat solution, Congo Labs would like to receive your feedback and input. You can contact them via their contact form on http://www.tchat.io, via Twitter @tchatio (without the dot), or the contact email on http://www.congolabs.com.

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