Gahlord Dewald clued me in on this one. He knows how much I desire to listen and we have shared a common listening strategy for years. We try to listen to help. Gahlord likes to look for “the special hashtag people use when looking to be helped.” It’s called a question mark. And it’s a powerful hashtag indeed.
The folks at inboxQ understand this: “We started InboxQ because we realized that there were lots of questions being asked by people on Twitter but most weren’t receiving very useful answers. In fact, most questions go completely unanswered on Twitter.” And that’s a fact.
What inboxQ does is find that special hashtag for you. Pop in a few keywords and inboxQ begins scouring twitter, looking for people you can assist. Your first step is to create what they call “campaigns.”
A campaign is simply a category of keywords or hashtags used to delineate possible questions to be answered. You can create as many campaigns as you wish. The campaign opened for view above is called “wordpress.” And I’ve been using the inboxQ Chrome extension to answer questions using the Zeek Interactive account on Twitter for a few days now.
It has been uncovering 20-30 questions each day.
You can answer the questions right in the extension’s window, without having to fire up Twitter or any of their third party apps, as you can see above. Of course, you can also see that I could be a bit more diligent about opening up the extension. Questions, after all, are best answered when someone is around to listen. Though, my results have been pretty good so far, even without constant attention.
Blog Post Fodder
Another thing the questions are good for is blog post ideas. I’m using the “TODO” tab to save questions I feel require more than 140 characters. Like these:
After a few days, the results have been very positive. I’ve been able to answer a few questions and create some good dialogue around WordPress, conversations we want to take part in. I’m not answering the question with any other desire than to help. But sometimes the questions open up an opportunity to talk about what we do as well. Witness this exchange:
I didn’t know James Hicks before I saw his question. And I know I would never have seen his question before inboxQ. I have no idea where it will lead, but I already consider the minute (total) I spent on it valuable. I hope James does as well.
What’s missing from inboxQ?
It does what it says it does really well, so there are only two things I’d really like to see added. First, the ability to add multiple accounts. I’d like to use the tool for other Twitter accounts I monitor, but it only allows for one account to be connected at a time right now. I can’t imagine this isn’t part of their future development strategy. Second, I’d like them to charge for it. I’m tired of seeing services like this drop off the map because they don’t have a way of making money. I’d pay for this one.
What kind of “listening to help” campaigns would you create?