Twitterfone can enhance the conference backchannel

Kilkenny BeerImage via WikipediaThe big news on Twitter today is that Cork-based Cubic Telecom, along with Dublin-based Dial2Do and an alliance of international partners have together launched Twitterfone – a voice-to-text service which voice-enables Twitter, the hottest social networking service at the moment. With Twitterfone, people can dictate text messages via their mobile to be sent out to everyone on their Twitter social network.

I signed up for the beta and took it for a quick spin. Ironically my west Limerick accent tripped it up just as I was saying "west Limerick". Listening to numerous other tests by those on my Twitter network however it’s clear that the translation technology is very advanced, getting it right more often than not, many times even against a noisy background.

When I attended Podcamp in Kilkenny
last October I got to observe first hand the potential for a
backchannel to enhance the conversation. Ustream was used to webcast a
live video feed and remote users’ input relayed via the Ustream chat
room, Twitter and Jaiku. I was so impressed by this that I’ve proposed
a similar backchannel for 3Dcamp – the upcoming barcamp being held at University of Limerick.

It strikes me now that Twitterfone can greatly enhance the bachchannel experience for those in attendance and those virtually attending. How much better to relay questions and comments audibly, literally from the horses mouth, rather than by proxy. And it’s hard to imagine an easier way for the backchannel ‘director’ to manage the flow than a via a unified Twitter stream.

So I’d ask all those hoping to virtually join us in Limerick on May 24th, from remote locations, to sign up for Twitterfone as soon as possible so as to be ready to phone in your commentary for the various speakers and panels.

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