Last fall, I was tasked with trying to pull in all of the social media stuff tagged with a state convention’s hashtag into one, easy-to-digest display. My was first thought was along the lines of “Oh, I guess I’ll go dig around in the APIs for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and see what’s possible.”
This was certainly one route to what I wanted but, fortunately, I ran across a service called Tagboard. Instead of having to do any custom scripting or learning a bunch of APIs, it pretty much did the work for me. For free. Here’s the raw version of what Tagboard created. Screenshot also, below:
Not only did Tagboard do the work, but it did it in a nice Pinterest-style interface that the conference easily projected up onto a giant screen in the exhibit hall.
There was one major downside to the free account: it doesn’t update in real time–only in 10 minute intervals. The conference needed something that would be updated much more frequently and closer to real time (which is an option in several of Tagboard’s premium offerings). To get around this, I created a simple page with HTML frames, running horizontally. The upper frame featured the conference’s logo, while the lower frame, which was much larger, contained the Tagboard and used a meta refresh tag to refresh the Tagboard content every minute or so. This basically worked great.
What does this mean to me, Laura?
- You can have as many Tagboards as you want, with a free account, but the free option only allows you to track one hashtag per board. If your event has more than one hashtag, this might be an issue.
- While Tagboard can pull in Facebook posts, those posts have to not only have the appropriate hashtag, they also have to be public. Not many Facebook posts are set to be wide open, so it’s not likely that you’ll see a ton of them in the feed. I contacted Tagboard directly about this, and they explained that the problem isn’t Tagboard, it’s Facebook–the API for Facebook will only allow public posts to be pulled externally. Encourage attendees to post to Twitter and Instagram, maybe?
What do you think? Could you use this…or would you?