ThinkUp 2.0: Getting Better

Posted by anil

The New Year is always a time for resolutions about how we’re going to improve ourselves. So it’s an appropriate time for us to release the very first beta version of ThinkUp 2.0, which both reflects the careful work of improving ThinkUp over the past three years, and shows off an exciting new direction for ThinkUp that’s about getting better at using our social networks.

We’ve been looking at what sucks about ThinkUp for a while, and foremost on that list is that it hasn’t always been clear why you’d regularly be using the app. While ThinkUp has always recorded what you do on different social networks, now instead of just storing that data, ThinkUp 2.0 tells you why your social networking activity matters. It’ll teach you how to get better at using your social networks, and how to better engage with the people you’re connected to.

Take a look at the new ThinkUp in action for the White House, or for a few of our friends in the media like Felicia Day, Steve Martin, Jeff Jarvis and Leo Laporte.

But first, a note: This is the very first beta release of ThinkUp 2.0. It’s got bugs! Things are broken! But it’s in good enough shape that people who are interested should be able to give it a try and start to make feature requests or bug reports.

What’s New: Insights Into What Matters

ThinkUp 2.0 is built around the simple idea that we can analyze your activity on social networks to either reflect back to you what’s working or make recommendations on what else you should be trying. We call each of these bits of analysis an “insight”, and as ThinkUp 2.0 gets closer to release, these insights will get better and better at helping you achieve your goals online, no matter what they are.

If you’re sharing ideas or content that your audience really likes, ThinkUp 2.0 makes that really obvious so you know what works. If you’re trying to be inspired by what’s caught your attention in the past, ThinkUp 2.0 will tell you what you were talking about a year ago, or which tweets by your friends you’d favorited in years past. If you write something that really goes viral, with lots of retweets or by being shared by particularly popular people, that’s all in there too.

To support all these cool new abilities, there are some exciting features that make up ThinkUp 2.0:

  • An all-new user interface: ThinkUp is now built around a single simple stream. Instead of having to click around through dozens of different screens, our goal with ThinkUp 2.0 is to bring you the information that’s most relevant and useful, in a format that you can easily skim. The new ThinkUp stream works on both desktop browsers and mobile devices’ browsers, making ThinkUp even more useful when you’re on the go.
  • All your networks on one screen: ThinkUp now shows from all of your connected social networks in one stream. So whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Foursquare, you’re just checking one place to know how you’re doing.
  • Be ready for the next time a social network creeps you out: By capturing and storing all of your activity on your social networks, ThinkUp is ready if you want to archive or move your data from one service, or if you want to have a record of what you did before a site changes its privacy policies or terms of service.
  • More to come: This is just the first release of ThinkUp 2.0, and we wanted to get it in front of our developer community in order to get everyone thinking about the exciting new features we can build on this new version of the platform.

For Developers

Of course, a major new release of ThinkUp is a huge opportunity for developers to make meaningful contributions to the platform. Here are two key highlights that you’ll find if you want to hack on the new ThinkUp:

  • Insights Plugins: The new “insights” that make up items in the ThinkUp stream are powered by simple, powerful plugins that you can create in as little as a few dozen lines of code. While we’re still completing the documentation for these, you can look at the first few insights in the app as an example of what’s possible.
  • Bootstrap! The entire new ThinkUp 2.0 user interface is implemented in the popular Bootstrap framework. This is much simpler than the HTML/CSS we were using in ThinkUp 1.0, makes it easier for new developers to start hacking on ThinkUp, and means we get improvements “for free” when the framework adds features. 

There’s lots, lots more to come in ThinkUp 2.0, of course, but we’re extremely excited to take the wraps off of the very first look at this exciting new version of the app. Please do let us know what you think!

Getting Started

  • If you’re already running ThinkUp, you can use the automatic upgrader to try out this beta version if you have Beta updates enabled. (Go to Settings > Application and check the box labeled “Enable beta upgrades” if you don’t see the update button in your dashboard.)
  • If you’re installing ThinkUp for the first time, you can follow the Quickstart instructions for how to install it on your web server.
  • If you just want to sign up and use ThinkUp without installing it, we’ll have a simple process for doing so shortly. Sign up for our announcements email list to be the first to find out about it.

Our sincere thanks to the entire ThinkUp community for getting us to this first big milestone on the road to a whole new ThinkUp!

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