Too Scared to Use the PowerPoint Twitter Tools? Moderation, Updating, New Options

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I’ve posted a new set of tools to the PowerPoint Twitter Tools pages. The new features include:

  • Moderated tweets
  • New tool to tweet directly from PowerPoint
  • New “mood meter” tool
  • New voting pie chart tool

Moderated Tweets and New Feedback Slide Options

Are you scared of your audience? Me neither. But when I recently asked several senior executives if they were interested in using the PowerPoint Twitter Tools in their conference presentations, the reaction was identical, three times in a row: “Wow, that’s a great idea!”, followed by “but maybe not this time…”

The biggest fear was that people would tweet something inappropriate, and it would appear during the presentation (profanity, swear words, “your presentation sucks”, etc.).

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I think the fear is overblown (if anything, putting the “backchannel” on the front screen helps make it more civilized, and if it’s in the twitter feed much of your audience is already seeing it), but to keep the sensitive exec types happy, I’ve introduced the ability to have moderated tweets, thanks to a new “custom feed” option, and the services of TidyTweet.com.

To use the service, you first sign up for a free account at the beta TidyTweet site, which gives you full control over the twitter stream you’d like to show – you can automatically filter out profanities, users you don’t like, likely spam accounts, etc., and even decide manually on a tweet-by-tweet basis what gets shown.

Once you’ve set up your account, you can use the new “custom feed” option at the bottom of the screen, and paste in the URL of the RSS feed provided by TidyTweet (supported in both the feedback slide, and the twitter ticker bar).

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Now only the moderated tweets will appear in your slides (if you’ve chosen manual filtering, you’ll need a colleague in the room who can log into the TidyTweet site and moderate as you present). But remember, the filtering only works for the slides, not for any audience members who are on Twitter directly – if you decide not to show a “tough tweet”, the presenter may be only one who’s not aware of it.

To be fair, there are always some bad apples out there. Here are some of the good reasons I can think of for moderating a big keynote:

  • Attention-seekers who might revel in the notoriety of disrupting a big keynote
  • Spam artists that jump onto any trending topic
  • Consultants and others than can’t resist using the forum to pretend to ask a question while actually pitching their products/expertise
  • Way-off-topic posts that sneak through if you have an ambiguous search term (e.g. “#sap” misses a lot of SAP-related content, while “sap” has a lot of junk)

Also, note that the custom feed doesn’t have to be used only for moderation – it can be any RSS feed you like (although certain aspects of the slide might not be supported, such as the people icons). For example, you can use it for more advanced Twitter options, using all the advanced search operators, such as the ability to combine tweets from several different people (e.g. http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?from=businessobjects+OR+sapnetwork+OR+_sapcrm)

In addition, there are several other new features in the feedback slide:

  • The texts now automatically highlights the search term, and you can click directly on any mentioned links to open them in a new web page.
  • The addition of the “page” indicator in the lower left makes it easy to step back through older tweets.
  • A new “locked” option is now available for advanced users who want to embed the feedback slide into presentations with the options preset and invisible (for example, in order to provide it as a standard slide for a conference template, locked to the conference hashtag). More instructions will be available shortly in the “advanced” section of the Instructions page.

Tweet Directly from PowerPoint

I’m not sure what circumstances a presenter might want to do this, but it was a request, so here it is… To use it, simply add the bar to your slides, fill in the message to tweet and press “send tweet”.

PowerPoint will prompt you to enter your username and password for twitter, then send off your message.

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Note that the bar uses only “basic authentication”, which means some restrictions apply:

  1. The bar’s .swf file must be in the same local directory as your presentation (unlike the other tools, which are automatically pulled from the SAPWeb20.com site as necessary).
  2. Whether or not you can use it depends on your computer setup: if you get a #2048 error, your PC or PowerPoint security settings are preventing the login box from appearing (I’ll provide more information on how to fix this once I figure out what’s happening).

PowerPoint Twitter Mood Meter

I designed this tool to accompany debates, or presentations designed to persuade the audience.

It’s a variation on twitter voting – the audience can signal their agreement or disagreement with a proposition, and you can track the sentiment of the audience in real time.

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For example: you ask the audience a question (e.g. “does innovation come from small companies, or large companies?”, or “will Web 2.0 transform organizations?”)

In the course of your presentation, the audience can tweet either “@votebytweet warmer myuniqueid” to indicate that that they agree, or “@votebytweet colder myuniqueid” if they disagree, and the indicator in the bar will move to the right (warmer, redder) or to the left (colder, bluer).

Because the bar shows the average of the last n tweets (10 by default), you can use it to track how persuasive you are being with your arguments, as the bar tracks the current “mood”.

As with the ticker bar, this should be installed in the powerpoint slide master if you want to use it across slides. See http://timoelliott.com/blog/powerpoint-twitter-tools/instructions for more details

New Pie Chart Voting

A new variation of the voting tool is available, showing a pie chart. Options allow you to customize the text of the options shown next to the chart.

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Enjoy the tools, and please keep the feedback coming!

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14 Comments
  1. I think that “Your presentation sucks” would be the first thing I’d wanted to read. If someone is courageous enough to state such an opinion through their Twitter name, it certainly has value.

    The concept of Web 2.0 is that the crowd (here the audience) is doing the moderation, not a single individual. Are execs afraid of profanity for respect of their audience, or only for their own concern? Swearing tells a lot about its author, using this excuse to apply moderation tells even more about the execs you’re mentioning.

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  4. Fred,

    That was my first reaction, but to be fair, there are always some bad apples out there. Here are some of the good reasons I can think of for moderating a big keynote:
    * Attention-seekers who might revel in the notoriety of disrupting a big keynote
    * Spam artists that jump onto any trending topic
    * Consultants and others than can’t resist using the forum to pretend to ask a question while actually pitching their products/expertise
    * Way-off-topic posts that sneak through if you have an ambiguous search term (e.g. “#sap” misses a lot of SAP-related content, while “sap” has a lot of junk)

  5. Attention-seekers, spammers and devious consultants have always plagued keynote sessions and taken way much more bandwith during the open questions part than they will ever be able to do in a tweet stream.

    I think the point is more about being able for execs to switch from a control mind set, to a listen and adapt philosophy. This is what I think makes Web 2.0 radically different from the usual command and control environment a lot of the execs have been accustomed to.

    I usually no longer see any interest in keynotes. There are most of the time a session of hubris where an exec is spamming the audience with his own rehearsed pitch. If engaging in a conversation with the audience, showing the ability to pick in real-time the intelligent questions and providing adequate answers become possible through this kind of tool, I may come back to these rooms I’ve long deserted.

  6. The thing is that I either give internal presentations (behind tons of firewalls) or participate sessions at BarCamps (no powerpoints there). If I ever have to give a public presentation again, I’ll make sure using these PPT Twitter tools, be it to avoid at least falling asleep on my slides.

    But I’m going to download your powerpoint right away for the pleasure of testing cool technologies.

  7. Hi Timo

    This is amazing. Thank you for all your work. I’ll be updating my post on Twitter tools for presenting to include all the additional goodies.

    Re: the tweeting directly from PowerPoint – maybe this is what your requester was really asking for – at least this is what I want to be able to do:

    Write a tweet which is associated with a particular slide and have it be posted at the time that you click onto that slide. Keynote has an app for this – called Keynote Tweet (http://labs.ideo.com/2009/06/23/keynote-tweet-participate-in-the-backchannel-of-your-own-presentation/)

    Somebody has developed a way of doing this with PowerPoint but you also need to have Visual Studio (http://blogs.msdn.com/dparys/archive/2009/02/10/coding-4-fun-slide-tweet-0-1.aspx).

    Thank you again for the tremendous work you’re doing.

    Olivia

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  9. Timo –

    Love it. Would suggest that presenters use 2 hashtags e.g., #SAP #TechEd – allows people who want to follow SAP to see the tweet, and helps avoid trend-spam.

    Any chance of open sourcing this so we can contribute? And so we can get a version that doesn’t have the SAP logo in it which prevents lots of people from using it …

    Thanks!
    Dennis Moore (ex-SAP)
    @dbmoore

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