Jan 26, 2011

LongReply's Sentiment Alerts Separate the Urgent from the Important

I’ve been away from the office a few days now, spending time with family. I don’t know about you, but ever since twitter was invented, my "family time" has gone kinda like this:

  • Talk
  • Eat
  • Glance down at iPhone for customer service tweets that need a reply
  • Talk
  • Eat
  • Glance down at iPhone for customer service tweets that need a reply
  • Talk
  • Eat
  • Angry Birds
  • Glance down at iPhone for customer service tweets that need a reply

Aaaand repeat. The problem isn’t so much that some form of technology is interrupting my family time (throughout my life, you could just replace "twitter" with Walkman, Atari, Nintendo Gameboy, The Internet, and so on). The real problem here is that I get vertigo looking under the table and "thumb-scrolling" through the twitter stream:

Usually, this goes through my head as I’m scrolling through all the tweets: "Which tweet needs a reply? Didn’t we already help that guy? Did he email me too? Wait, is that someone complaining about customer service, or our abuse department? Should I forward this one to another department? What language is that tweet?"

So you can see how this can really distract from family time (and Angry Birds).

But this time around, things are different. I’m actually spending some decent quality time with family, and I’m not constantly checking the twitter stream.

Because every hour, LongReply is searching twitter for non-neutral tweets, and sending me an email like this:

This email doesn’t just summarize stuff for you.

It puts things into perspective.

When you’re just scrolling through (what feels like) billions of realtime tweets, one or two negative ones actually feel like a lot more. It’s all happening in real time, your adrenaline is pumping, and you just think the entire twitterverse is conspiring to totally harsh your mellow with #fail hash tags. When you see even one negative tweet, you get all paranoid, and you want to solve it now. God help any family member who tries to get in my way.

But when you filter through LongReply, you can see that even though you might have 1 negative tweet, there are maybe a dozen more positive ones. Aaaaaah. The twitterverse is not out to get me!

In the email alert screenshot, look under the list of positive tweets. You can actually see the negative tweet getting resolved by someone out there named "Scotty:"

Thanks, Scotty. I don’t know who you are, but my family and I love you.