On the Importance of Cell Phone Signal

It's easy to take for granted how connected we are through the cell phones we carry around with us every day. In less than a minute, you can email your mother across the country, check the weather, RSVP on Tweetvite and post a photo on Instagram of your breakfast. It truly is amazing the power that we hold in our hands sometimes.

Unfortunately, as we found at Tweetvite a few weeks ago, that power can disappear in an instant in situations like Hurricane Sandy. Suddenly the feeling of being connected turns to one of helplessness and isolation...it's like the security blanket has been quickly pulled away and we're left exposed. So, becuase of this, we've been looking into ways to mitigate such an occurence from happening again.

In regards to Hurricane Sandy, some of the local cellular towers in Manhattan went out, causing there to be swaths of dead, or minimal reception, zones for certain carriers. After significant research, we've decided to go with a powerful cell phone signal booster, called the zBoost YX545 dual band repeater, to amplify even the smallest existing signal and prevent the situation where some cell towers might be overloaded or gone completely.

In fact, we've been so impressed with our solution, that we've worked with the folks at UberSignal to get an exclusive discount for Tweetvite users for the month of December.  If you're interested in having your own cell phone signal booster system, then use the code TWEETVITE2012 when checking out at UberSignal.

If you're worried about the same sort of situation, or if you live or work in an area which has poor cell phone reception, we'd highly recommend you looking into a cell phone repeater system to increase your signal and safeguard against future disasters.

10 simple rules for Tweeting Up

10 simple rules for Tweeting Up

I don’t go to as many happy hours or Twitter meetups (“Tweetups” we call them, much to the disgust of non-Twitter users) as I’d like. Commute. Toddler. Prime-time TV fall season. The reasons are myriad.

But when I do go (or host one), I try to have a blast. Life is short. You have to enjoy this sort of thing because given the way modern science is going, we’re going to end up without 20 or 30 years at the ends of our lives where we are past the point of being surprised or pleased by anything, but still physically able to live on. We will enjoy a hard candy now and then, perhaps, but we sure won’t be drinking at bars and posing for party pics.

What surprises me is how much stress the simple act of meeting up causes for some people. Even extroverts have a tiny bit of social anxiety, but I’ve talked to people in Austin who skip meetups because they think nobody will like them, are paranoid about making fools of themselves or are simply shy.

Let me make it easy like Sunday morning (on a Thursday night) for you with these simple rules for having a good time and fitting in at a local Tweetup:

  1. Don’t stress the dress. Tweetups are generally more casual than business networking events or happy hours sponsored by big companies. T-shirts and jeans are fine, but nobody’s going to give you a hassle if you show up in your more formal work attire because you came straight from work. Dress however you like, just bear in mind the location of the Tweetup.

  2. Leave work at work. Don’t shot up with a resume in hand or expecting to round up some new clients. Some people attend Tweetups for work-related networking, but pitching and business schmoozing should be kept to a minimum.

  3. Drinking, fine. Drunken, watch out. Don’t be the person people talk about the next day who was blitzed out of their mind and was all slurry and sloppy. Be classy. Don’t get hammered.

  4. Photos and videos are usually OK. Especially if you’re familiar with people at the meetup, taking photos and shooting video is usually considered OK. Posting to Facebook or putting up a TwitPic is usually fine, too. But please respect requests if someone doesn’t like their picture and asks you to take it down. Better yet, it never hurts to let people you’re photographing know you plan to put pictures or videos online.

  5. Go @ yourself. What to put on the nametag: generally, it’s your full name, your Twitter ID (say, “@omarg”) and maybe the company you work for. Often, I see people simply put their Twitter ID and leave it at that, but if you’re handle is “@sexymama33” or “#the-dude-abides” please add your first name and save everybody the trouble of wondering whether to greet you at all. Don’t leave that funny ID off completely, though. It’s a good conversation starter.

  6. Bring treats. If you have freebies to give away from your company or cupcakes to share, bring ‘em. I saw someone walk in to a Tweetup with a tray of cupcakes and made friends for life. You don’t have to do this, but it’s a good way to break the ice and get people to come to you as soon as you walk in the door.

  7. Don’t be shy. This is the hardest part to get over for some. I’ve seen more than a few gregarious Twitter posters show up at a Tweetup, look around the room, intimidated, and leave before saying hello to a single person. Later, they post about how lame the Tweetup was. People are there to meet, mingle and socialize. But sometimes you have to be the one to say hi and introduce yourself. Don’t get scared off. If you’re having a terrible time, find the host of the Tweetup and ask them to introduce you around. They’ll be happy to do it.

  8. Watch the gossip. Live-tweeting from a meetup is common, but make sure that in the haze of drinking, laughing and gossiping, that you don’t accidentally post something that you’re going to regret in the morning. Assume private conversations are to be kept private and if you’re unsure whether it’s OK to post something you hear at the Tweetup, you should ask first. Remember that on Twitter, almost everything is taken, by its very nature, out of context.

  9. Bring business cards or something else to write on. You often meet so many people at a meetup, it’s impossible to remember the Twitter IDs of new acquaintances or what they do for a living. Have business cards, or some other form of ID to hand out and have a small pad to write stuff down on (or a digital equivalent - some people take notes and photos of people they meet on their phone). You always think you’ll remember names later and, if you’re me, you never do. Write it down.

  10. Follow up. Add people you met and liked to your Twitter stream or ask them to connect on Facebook or Linked In. Remind them that you met at the Tweetup in case they don’t remember your name or handle. And don’t forget to thank your meetup hosts (whether in person or later on by e-mail or Tweet). It’s a lot of work making sure everyone’s having a good time.

And of course, have fun!

Omar L. Gallaga has a great article over on austin360.com about attending a tweetup. You should definitely check it out!

RSVP Notifications for Tweetup Hosts

Until now, Tweetup hosts were forced to routinely check back with the site for new RSVPs to their event. We've spent the past few days implementing the ability for hosts to add their email address(es) to their Tweetvite account and automatically receive notifications of new RSVPs to their event.  Simply login to Tweetvite, and click the settings link under your profile picture in the top right corner.  That brings you to your account settings page, where you can add in your email address(es) and configure how you want to receive notifications.  That's it!

This also lays the groundwork for us to be able to offer additional email functionality around notifications, reminders and invitations in the future, so keep an eye peeled for new features soon.  As always, we'd love to hear your feedback on this and anything else you like or dislike about Tweetvite!

An API for Tweetvite

While we're obviously big fans of Tweetvite and everything that it can do, we also know that there are much smarter people out there than us,  who, if given the chance, could create some really cool apps. We've spent the past few days working to make that opportunity a reality, and are now happy to announce the release of version one of the Tweetvite API!    

Version one is a read-only API which allows you to retrieve information relating to:  specific events, guest lists, comments,  search results and user profiles, to name a few.   Developers can find all of the information that they need to get started here.   If you're going to be developing using the Tweetvite API, please join the Tweetvite API Developers Group to stay up to date on changes to the API, as well as share information with other developers.  We'd love to see (and feature) what you come up with, so please drop us a line and let us know!

Tweetvite Officially Launches!

For the past week or so, Tweetvite has been live on the web so that we could have our initial testers try out the site.  We hadn't told anyone about it, and had actually gone to great lengths to prevent anyone from talking (or tweeting) about it.   Interestingly enough, this radio silence still did not prevent some individuals from finding and using the site to start organizing Tweetups in their own local areas. Thankfully, we don't have to keep quiet any longer.  We've officially launched Tweetvite via a blog post on Techcrunch, and are now welcoming anyone and everyone who is looking for a better way to organize Tweetups!

You should subscribe to this blog to stay up to date on everything Tweetvite related, as well as become a fan on Facebook.  Heck, while you're at it, you should probably follow us on Twitter and your local Tweetvite account too!  

Please let us know what you think of the service when you have a chance.  We're always looking for recommendations and feedback!

~ The Tweetvite Team

Tweetvite now supports Facebook Connect

What's better than one authentication system?  Two authentication systems of course!   

One request that we received from early alpha testers of Tweetvite was the ability for guests who didn't have a Twitter account to RSVP.  While this seems to run counter to the idea of Tweetups and using Twitter to organize events, it makes sense that there are individuals who haven't adopted Twitter yet (or ever will) but still would like the chance to attend a Tweetup and meet other interesting people.

Our answer to this request was to implement Facebook Connect as a secondary means of authentication for allowing guests to login and RSVP for events.    While this still might exclude a few individuals who don't have either type of account, we feel these are few and far between, and that this is the best balance of added functionality with minimal additional complexity. 

What happens if I RSVP for a Tweetup with one account, but then login with my other?

In order to solve the problem of juggling multiple accounts, we've created a way for you to tie your Twitter and Facebook accounts together on Tweetvite.  
  1. Simply login with either Twitter or Facebook
  2. Click the "Settings" link under your name in the top navigation bar.  That will bring you to a page where you can add in your other account. 
  3. Once you do that, your accounts will be tied together, and you'll be able to access all of your Tweetups through either account.
     If you've already created or RSVPed to an event with the second account that you add in, then you'll automatically be taken through the "merge process" to verify that you'd like to tie the accounts together.   Simply follow the steps and you should be all set!

We're working on some cool new functionality, so be sure to subscribe to the Tweetvite blog to stay up to date.  If you're a developer, then you'll certainly want to keep an eye out for our next big release!

Tweetvite Local Accounts, Embeddable Video and Hover Bios

We've been busy building out Tweetvite and wanted to share some of the recent items that have been recently released.  Here are a few of our favorites:

Tweetvite Local Twitter Accounts

As busy as most people are, we don't expect you to be visiting Tweetvite every day to check if new Tweetups have been created in your area.  In order to make it a little bit easier to stay on top of what's happening, we've rolled out Tweetvite Local Twitter Accounts.  Simply follow the account for your city and you'll be updated as new Tweetups are created in your area.   You can find a complete list of the currently supported cities here.

Embeddable Videos

Customizing invitations with colors and pictures is great, but we wanted to step it up a bit in the customization department, so we've rolled out the ability to embed videos directly into your invitations.  We currently support YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo, Viddler, College Humor, and many more!  Try it out for yourself and see how cool embedded video can be!

Hover Bios

Tweetups are by nature a meetup of people who, for the most part, have never met before.   Obviously you'll want to scope out the guest list before attending the Tweetup and get an idea about other guests and their backgrounds.  Rather than forcing you to spend hours clicking through to each person's Twitter account, we decided to include that information right in the invitation for you.   Simply hover over each guest, and a pop-up bubble will appear with that guest's info in it.

There's been far more functionality released recently than that, but at least you have a taste of some of the great things we're working on.  The next release is going to be a big update, so stay tuned for that!

Tweetvite goes Live!

Today, Tweetvite goes live!  ...but we're not telling anyone about it yet.  

Well, okay, a few people. 

We're in the process of gathering feedback from some prominent Tweetup organizers to ensure that the product meets the level of quality that we're expecting before it's formally released to the general public.  If you're reading this, then you're probably one of those select few...or randomly happened upon this blog, in which case you're probably thoroughly confused about what I'm talking about.  Come back in a week and we'll have more answers for you.

If you're not lost and are looking for more info about Tweetvite, then you've come to the right place.  We'll be posting regularly about the status of the service, feature development, downtime/maintenance, and info about Tweetups, among other things.  Just subscribe to this posterous blog and you'll be automatically updated on new developments in the Tweetvite world.   If you have any questions or feedback requests, feel free to shoot us a message or use our feedback forum to let us know your thoughts. 

We look forward to hearing from you!

~The Tweetvite Team