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Sizing Up Sideline: A Look at the New Yahoo Twitter App

in Social Media with tags , , , , ,

Yesterday, Yahoo launched Sideline, an Adobe AIR app that monitors and manages Twitter buzz. The easy-to-use dashboard includes an overall summary of trending topics, updated in real time, in addition to an organizational platform that lets users create and maintain search groups. Each group can include several different search terms, based on verbiage, hashtag and even sentiment.

Other Sideline features include comment buttons adjacent to each tweet that automatically initiate an @reply to the author when clicked, as well as a favorites tab for storing memorable tweets.

We decided to take the Sideline out for a spin by setting up some very basic search groups surrounding Tuesday night’s episode of American Idol. To start, we set up four groups to collect specific information about the show:

1. American Idol, for general feedback on the show
2. American Idol Questions, for speculation about last night’s results show
3. Adam – Positive, to gather positive feedback on frontrunner Adam Lambert’s performance
4. Adam – Negative, to gather negative feedback on Adam’s performance

By establishing groups and search terms we were able to effectively organize Twitter buzz on American Idol based on pre-determined criteria (general comments/questions about the show, as well as sentiments about the show’s early frontrunner, Adam Lambert). The organizational component allowed us to bucket American Idol chatter per our preferences, and therefore helped provide a clearer picture of conversations surrounding the show.

From a consumer perspective, Sideline is a fun way to track chatter about current events and interests based on personal organizational preferences. As an example, a consumer could easily manage tabs that monitor discussion on current events, TV shows or bands and even favorite brands (to track for promotions or sales specials).

Brands can also benefit from Yahoo’s new app. Brand managers and marketers can now easily track multiple relevant Twitter conversations for their business in one central dashboard. For starters, marketers can set up a group that gathers buzz on search terms directly pertaining to their brand. They can also set up a group that tracks chatter from or about key competitors by simply setting the search terms as specific competitor brand names. Another helpful group might be one that monitors industry buzz, based on search terms central to the company’s product or mission. Finally, marketers and PR professionals might also want to include a group that tracks target media outlets – this way, they can know which outlets and reporters are covering which topics, in real time.

Here ‘s a quick rundown of some of Sideline’s niftiest features:

  • Auto-Update: You can change your refresh settings to update at any time between one minute and one hour.
  • Comment Bubbles: Click the icon next to the desired tweet and a new window will open initiating an @reply from your Twitter account.

  • Favorites Tab: This tab is a useful way to aggregate tweets, though we wish there was a way to organize these based on topic or sentiment.

  • Text Uploads: You can import more complicated search group terms to the app from a text file.
  • Sideline Notifications: Pop-ups appear on your desktop when relevant tweets have been posted.

  • Sentiment Option: This allows you to search for positive, negative or question-based tweets – though this tool is (understandably) not 100 percent accurate. For example, the tweet below was bucketed as “negative.”

Though not perfect, nor particularly groundbreaking, Sideline is a useful tool – especially for marketers – for organizing searches on Twitter in real time, based on topic and/or sentiment.