Twitter has become a boon to journalists wanting to break news. It’s also great for surfacing content relevant to niche topics or specific industries if you follow the right users. However, the realtime and unfiltered nature of those constant updates means that if you follow too many sources it soon becomes impossible for relevant information not to get lost in the noise. In fact, I’d argue that Twitter doesn’t really scale from a user point of view, once you follow more than a few hundred people.
Setting out to solve this problem is Berlin-based startup Tame. Described as a “context search engine” for Twitter, the mobile and tablet-friendly web app analyses content from your Twitter followers or based on a specific search to algorithmically surface the top hashtags, the Twitter users most mentioned, and the top links shared over the past 24 hours. The idea is to give you an at-a-glance overview of content populated on Twitter via your own Twitter feed or topics that you explicitly wish to delve into, without having to do much upfront work.
The company says the service is targeting journalists, public relations consultants, marketers and politicians — two of Tame’s three co-founders have a background in journalism — and follows a successful fundraising campaign earlier this year via the German crowd-investing platform Companisto that saw the startup raise €250,000. In addition, Tame received €94.000 from the German Ministry of Economics and Technology and the EU in 2012.
At peak times, more than 300,000 tweets are sent out per minute, apparently, hence it’s easy to see how important content can be missed. It’s this information overload, says co-founder and CEO Frederik Fischer, that Tame is attempting to “tame” (get it?). “Nearly every user follows more people than they can manage… Professionals working with social media need to identify relevant topics, users and content quickly”.
In practice, Tame appears to work quite well out the gate. The UI offers a simple three column view consisting of Links, Topics, and People. These are either based on your Twitter timeline — the users you follow — or specific searches that you enter. A slider lets you adjust the time span from 1-24 hours. Clicking on a link, topic or person opens up a panel displaying the originating tweet (or tweets)
One thing they need to fix, however, is that the title — or headline — of each link is truncated, sort of defeating the point of a service that’s supposed to provide a quick overview.
In addition, Tame has a few other tricks, such as the ability to compose a tweet, add a hashtag and have the system auto-suggest other related hashtags.
Monetization-wise, for consumers Tame is a typical freemium play, with a monthly subscription providing premium features such as infinite global searches, a tweet editor, and multiple account management. Pricing starts at €5 per month. Meanwhile, I’m told that a further revenue stream will come from providing B2B customers with company accounts, “exclusive” product workshops and support.