One of the most requested features for Twitter is the ability to create groups. While users wait (and wait and wait) for Twitter to add this feature, a number of startups are going ahead and showing how it should be done. The latest of these is a LaunchBox Digital startup called Buzzable which just launched today. Buzzable lets you create Twitter groups around RSS feeds, and does so in a very compelling way.
Right now anyone can browse public groups, but you need an invite code to create a new group. Anyone with a twitter account, however, can join a public group and post a message. We have 500 invites. Just use the promo code: techcrunch.
You sign in using your Twitter ID, which lets you join and create both public and private groups centered around different topics. Some of the public groups right now include Android, Kindle, the New York Knicks, and the White House. There is even one for TechCrunch.
Groups are built around RSS feeds. So the TechCrunch group is simply our feed. But you can set up topic-specific groups which pull from a number of feeds, including Google News, Eventful, Digg, Yahoo Finance, Twitter itself, blogs, and so on. You can set it up so that the feeds are filtered by keyword (such as “Android,” Kindle,” “Knicks,” etc.). Members of the group can then discuss any headline by commenting in-line. Each comment can be pushed out to Twitter proper as well. Both RSS headlines and comments can be “Buzzed” up by popular vote. The result is a combination of RSS content and Twitter conversation, all in the same stream.
By priming the pump with the RSS streams, Buzzable hopes to stimulate conversation, even among people who don’t normally Twitter twenty times a day without prompting. In addition to micro-messages, images and YouTube videos can be added to each comment. And since Buzzable uses your Twitter ID, every time you create a group, it asks you if you want to invite all of your Twitter followers. Every Buzzable member can also be followed on Twitter simply by clicking a follow button on their Buzzable profile. Buzzable groups can also be republished as their own Twitter account. In these ways, Buzzable tries to take advantage of the viral nature of Twitter itself to create as many entry points as possible for new users. Each group can also be republished as a separate RSS feed or as an embeddable widget (see below)
Buzzable’s co-founders are Satjot Sawhney and Ashish Kundra. The company was part of LaunchBox Digital’s 2008 summer incubator program. LaunchBox founder John McKinley is chairman and the lead investor. Check out the demo video below:
Buzzable Demo: Creating a Group from Satjot Singh Sawhney on Vimeo.