Perhaps the biggest problem facing Twitter these days is the influx of users who just wish to use it for spamming purposes. When someone follows you, it’s hard to know their intentions at first and you may follow them back. If they’re a spammer, your stream will be bombarded with junk. A new startup, Chirpio, wants to solve this problem and offer better user recommendations with a Twitter rating system.
While there have been plenty of other service that you can use fo find Twitter users you should follow, notably Mr. Tweet and WeFollow, Chirpio offers a very simple solution that everyone will be able to understand. When you sign in to your Twitter account on Chirpio via their OAuth support, you will see your tweet stream as you would on Twitter. But below each tweet you will see a way to rate the user up or down. More importantly, you can mark them as “Spam” and easily unfollow them. Below each user’s icon, you will see their composite rating score.
Along the top of your stream there are filters that you can use once you have rated users. For example, if I only want to see the ones that I rated as “good” (the up vote), I can do that. Likewise for “bad” — why you would be following “bad” users, I don’t know, perhaps just to drive your hatred of them. It’s important to note that a down rating is not the same as a “Spam” mark, so it is actually a useful rating for people who you follow on purpose but don’t really like.
In the right side column of Chirpio, you can find your own profile to see how users are rating you (you cannot see who voted what way). Below that is a “Top Rated” area showing the top rated users across the network. Obviously, the concern here is about people gaming the system, but co-founder Gee Chuang tells us they are developing an algorithm that would give different weight to different votes based on certain activity. He says this is similar to the way Digg weights diggs differently based on activity.
You can also rate users on Chirpio right on Twitter itself. Simply use the syntax “@chirpio @parislemon +” if you like me or “”@chirpio @parislemon -” if you dislike me. The same works with “spam” and you can also substitute “good” and “bad” for plus and minus, as well bulk rate people by including multiple names in these tweets.
It’ll take a lot of users using the system and rating people to see how well this will actually work as a recommendation system for Twitter. But I like how easy this is to use, and the simple idea behind it.
Founders James Fong, Daniel Khamsing and the aforementioned Gee Chuang built the service on Google’s App Engine, and have self-funded the project. Chuang says that an API is coming soon which will allow for Chirpio integration with other Twitter-based services.