Talking Tech Friday – Twiddla

One of the best things about SXSW is all the publicity and coverage of great new technological goodies. Last week’s topic, Animoto, was featured there, as well as this week’s – Twiddla, which won an award for Technological Achievement. (check out the other award winners for extra credit!)

So, Twiddla!

What is it?

Twiddla is a “free, no-setup, web-based meeting playground.” Basically, it’s a web conferencing or meeting tool that offers both text chat (IM) and voice chat, interactive whiteboard functionality (allowing multiple users to manipulate information on the whiteboard, and group web browsing – all in real time.

How does it work?

All you have to do to start a meeting is go to the website and click on “Start a New Meeting.”  You can create a profile for yourself, using a username and password if you wish, but Twiddla also allows you to host and join meetings as a guest, without having to do all that other stuff.  I, personally, think that’s super cool.

However, creating a profile offers some advantages – you can save transcripts and snapshots from your conferences and upload photos from your computer.

A default meeting offers a text chat window superimposed over a mutual viewing window – the whiteboard.  The text window can be docked at either the right or left if you choose.

At the top left, there is a tool bar that allows you to enter URLs to look at webpages – for example, you could enter your library’s website url and it would appear in the whiteboard.  The cool part is that then everyone participating in the meeting can draw on it, make comments, insert notes, etc.  You can also upload pictures or screenshots.  I experimented and linked to my published google presentation, and that worked as well – I was able to click through each slide and make alterations on each one.  Any markings made are immediately visible to everyone else in your meeting.

Audio capability is built in, though of course that would only be useful if everyone you’d like to collaborate with has access to speaker and microphone.  Text is very simple and easy to use – very functional, not a lot of bells and whistles.

Meetings can be set up as private or public, and invitations are sent via email to participants.  You can save screens to your computer, as well.

So far my only complaint is that there isn’t much documentation in the Knowledge Base.  I wanted to search for information about saving (in the public sandbox, I don’t seem to be able to save), and more information about uploading pictures and the like, and it’s just not there.  I’m not sure who can have access to the wiki to add content, however, I’m sure posting a comment on the blog would yield answers fairly quickly.

Possible Library Uses

While most uses that immediately come to mind are internal – e.g. collaboratively working on projects with colleagues, I also can picture some possible ideas for collaborating with patrons.  Could be a great way to get feedback about a website redesign (maybe post a time window where patrons can log in and comment while marking things up), or probably even more ideas a little out of the box.  I’m sure some of you have some possibilities percolating around in your brains that you can share!



~ by Anali on April 4, 2008.