The New Nurph

There's two exciting parts to the new Nurph. Firstly there's @Nurph, the friendly artificial intelligence who watches over and chats with you in the Nurph Channels, on Twitter, and even over SMS on the telephone number +44 (0)20 3322 4989. @Nurph answers questions about, tells jokes, translates words, tells local time, rhymes, defines, checks the status of London Underground lines, and performs many more fun and useful functions. @Nurph can even learn answers and knowledge from people who have permission to teach it.

Secondly, Nurph Channels are the home of @Nurph and the destinations where you can type in a word to join a real-time group chat about the word you typed in. Type #Pizza in to the home page and you'll join the #Pizza Channel where tweets containing #Pizza will stream by in real-time. It's awesome to watch & participate in, and it turns your hashtag or Twitter account in to a chat room. Try it, you'll love it.

Let's look at each part in more detail.

@Nurph's Up

Meet @Nurph, the friendly AI bot who chats in #Nurph via replies to @Nurph (and speaks out loud through your computer speakers), on Twitter via @replies to @Nurph, and on SMS via +44 (0)20 3322 4989. For example:

  • Fancy a joke? TXT "Nurph tell me a joke" to +44 (0)20 3322 4989 and @Nurph will send a joke straight back to you.
  • Need a chat up line? TXT "Nurph tell me a chat up line" to +44 (0)20 3322 4989 and Nurph will send you a chat up line just in time for that walk across the bar.
  • Need to know the status of the Nothern Line? TXT "Nurph what is the status of the Northern Line?" to +44 (0)20 3322 4989 and @Nurph will send you the status of the Northern Line.
  • Want to know the local time in another part of the world? Tweet "@Nurph what is the time in Tokyo" and @Nurph will tweet back to you with the time in Tokyo.
  • Interested in the definition of love? Ask "@Nurph define love" in #Nurph and @Nurph will reply with the definition of love.

Not only is @Nurph a very useful addition to as an AI helper who can be on hand 24/7 to handle FAQs and customer support queries, etc - it's also a fun and friendly addition to the Nurph brand and a smart AI who can answer all kinds of queries. 

Most notably, @Nurph can learn answers and knowledge from the people who've been given permission to teach it. For example:

  • NeilCauldwell: @Nurph when asked how much does the Company Enterprise plan cost answer £1999 per month.
  • Nurph: @NeilCauldwell OK, I will answer "£1999 per month" when asked "how much does the Company Enterprise plan cost"
  • TwitterUser: @Nurph how much does the Company Enterprise plan cost?
  • Nurph: @TwitterUser £1999 per month.
  • MobileNumber SMS to +44 (0)20 3322 4989: Nurph how much does the Company Enterprise plan cost?
  • +44 (0)20 3322 4989 SMS to MobileNumber: £1999 per month

And this is just the starting point - there's so much more in the works for @Nurph. Check the @Nurph Skills page for a frequently updated list of @Nurph's abilities.

    Real-Time Twitter Channels

    The new isn't just the place where you can see @Nurph chatting away in real-time in it's favorite hangout, it's also the destination where you can type in a word to join a real-time chat channel about the word you typed in (with lots of added benefits for Twitter users). Type #Twitter in to the home page and you'll join the #Twitter Channel where tweets containing #Twitter will stream by in real-time. The same goes for #ipad, #journchat, #commschat, #TechCrunch, or #BBCClick. It's awesome to watch & participate in, and it's a very powerful tool for Twitter hashtag chats.

    Got a favorite hashtag, or would you simply like to do real-time group chat with likeminded people via Twitter? Nurph makes it easy. Just type your word/hobby/interest in to the home page and Nurph takes you to the Channel where you can start chatting in real-time by participating with the content on Twitter. Nurph loops conversation straight back in to Twitter, and that means people on Twitter can discover your conversations and join in.

    Not only does Nurph give you the slickest and best user-experience for real-time chat via Twitter, it also makes it easier and quicker to do @replies via the "@reply autocomplete". Just start typing out the first few letters of the username, hit tab, and Nurph prefills your message box with the full username. This feature also accounts for the "in reply to link" by making smart assumptions about which remark you're replying to. Try this for @replies and you won't want to go back to clicking 'reply' buttons with your mouse. And let's not forget about the ReTweets - Nurph has those too.

    Unlike Twitter #hashtag search results, Nurph Channels show you who is hanging out in the channel, whether or not they're contributing at the time. It's a whole new layer of information that you don't get on Twitter and it makes for a very exciting, next-generation online community experience.

    Finally, let's not forget about good old emoticons. Type smileys in to your remarks in Nurph Channels, and now Nurph will turn them in to emoticons :-)

    @Nurph's Said

    This is the tip of the iceberg for the new Nurph of 2012. Got a question, or would you like to join the beta for our upcoming artificial intelligence features? Speak to @Nurph in #Nurph, on Twitter or over SMS on +44 (0)20 3322 4989.

    Improve your Customer Support on Twitter

    As we've previously discussed on the Nurph Blog, Twitter is a great first point of contact for customer support.

    For the Customer: As a customer you can quickly & easily tweet a question to a Twitter account such as @Dell, and the Twitter account can reply in real-time. This is a world away from the alternative route of having to Google the name of a company, scan through the results for the official website (then the website in your language, assuming an international company), scour the website for the "Contact Us" section, and to either find the right email address, or to fight through a tedious Contact Us form which usually fails to send you a copy of the message that you send through (for later reference purposes).

    For the Company: As the company and customer support provider, Twitter gives you an aesthetically pleasing, friendly, and easily identified point of contact for your customers which encourages their intial question to be brief and to the point. Also, because Twitter is public chatter, other customers can see the conversation that is happening around your Twitter account and join in with it, learn from it, and potentially avoid asking you the same question twice.

    Problem: But once a customer has established contact with a company via the first tweet, the conversation is quickly stifled by Twitter's user experience. You can't get in to a "real-time" chat whereby you can really feel like the questions are being answered efficiently, tweets start flying to & fro, the results of the conversations are quickly lost in the maze of @replies and short lived search results, and it's tricky to share a coherent conversation transcript which other people could read and benefit from.

    Solution: However, if you use your Nurph Channel in combination with your Twitter account you can bring your Twittering customers in to a real-time discussion channel which ties directly in to Twitter (or vice versa if you invite a company Twitter account in to your own Nurph Channel). Nurph offers free flowing conversation, it fosters a real-time community who could help answer your questions for you, and it gives you transcripts which are easy to refer back to at any time. Just take the following simple steps to get up & running with your Nurph Channel for improved customer support on Twitter:

    1. Join your Nurph Channel by typing your Twitter username in to
    2. Tweet about your Nurph Channel
    3. Update your Twitter profile info to include a link to your Nurph Channel
    4. Tweet links to your Nurph Channel whenever you get in to longer conversations on Twitter and start chatting in a real-time Channel
    5. Keep your Nurph Channel open in a browser tab during certain hours of the day for drop-in sessions
    6. Encourage your trusted Twitter community members to hang out in your Nurph Channel and to answer questions for you.
    7. Use Bufferapp to schedule tweets that remind your Twitter users to stop by and leave real-time feedback in your Nurph Channel

    Do you have any further tips for improving customer support on Twitter? Let us know in the comments.

    Get a Real-Time Twitter Channel for Your Brand

    Would you like a real-time Twitter Channel for your brand which a) brings together your Twitter account, friends, followers, and hashtag in to a real-time discussion forum b) makes it easier to communicate with your Twitter community, c) gives you more insights in to your Twitter community, d) gives you automatic conversation transcripts, and e) brings you Twitter community closer to your brand? That's Nurph.

    Start using by typing in your Twitter username, joining your real-time Channel, and chatting in real-time. Nurph brings your Twitter community together in a more intimate real-time chat setting and makes it easier to hold conversations over Twitter.

    - Real-Time group chat for Twitter
    - Your branding
    - Brings your Twitter community closer to your brand
    - Conversation transcripts
    - Easy way to search through your conversations
    - Loops back in to Twitter
    - Tells you who is hanging out but not contributing
    - Great for customer feedback on Twitter
    - Helps build community and followers

    How To Own a Twitter Hashtag

    As @bonigala states in "Can You Own a Twitter Hashtag", the question of whether or not you should be able to own a Twitter hashtag is one that just keeps cropping up in the branding world. Well imagine if there was a tool that gave you real-time Twitter Channels based on Twitter accounts and hashtags, whereby you could bring your Twitter community together in a real-time group chat environment that ties in directly to existing Twitter hashtags, but with a superior real-time chatting experience, moderation facilities, "presence" that tells you who is hanging out in real-time, automatic conversation transcripts, conversation archives that last forever, a search tool that let's you scan entire conversations, and design & branding on a vanity URL that matches your Twitter username.

    That's, and you're going to love it. Get started in just a few seconds or read on to find out more.!/jennifairy123/status/131368547866783745">

    HOW: Visit, type in the Twitter username that you use with your hashtag, and start chatting in real-time without having to remember to type the hashtag out in every tweet, with @username autocomplete, and real-time presence to see who is both contributing and hanging out for fun. Nurph Channels publish the conversations straight out to Twitter so everyone is kept in the loop, and it's a far slicker chat experience.

    OWNERSHIP: Nurph Channels are owned by the Twitter account that matches the hashtag you typed in. Therefore, @Nurph owns #Nurph, @StephenFry owns #StephenFry, and @Apple owns #Apple. If you have a Twitter username you now can feel confident about building a real-time Twitter hashtag community for your online persona, brand, company, event, and community without worrying about your hashtag being hijacked by someone else.

    REALLY REAL-TIME: Chat in real-time like never before. Not only does Nurph let you "own" a hashtag but you also get the best real-time Twitter experience. Once you've participated in a Nurph Channel you won't want to go back to chatting via the Twitter interface. Chatting via Nurph is so much better than trying to piece together a Twitter chat using other tools. Just try it and see.

    MODERATION: Control the chat with moderation facilities based around who you Follow and who Follows you. Stop other people from taking over your chat. Stop worrying about other people using the same hashtag. Block people who don't play nice on your hashtag.

    TRANSCRIPTS: Get automatic conversation archives that are created in real-time as you chat away. Check out this recent conversation with the @AppleCrowd Twitter community to see our nifty conversation archives in action

    KEYWORD SEARCH: The keyword search facility makes it a piece of cake to search through your past conversations. People are often complaining that Twitter's search archives rarely go back as far as they need them to, but Nurph's archives are available forever. Try the search results for "love" in #Nurph to see what it's all about

    DESIGN & BRANDING: Your Nurph Channel design is based on your Twitter account. That means we pull in all your existing profile design customisations and you get a URL with your branding all over it.

    SET TOPICS: Set topics using tweets and Nurph shows the topic at the top of the channel and pulls in the latest tweet so that the chatters always know what you're discussing.

    What are you waiting for? Get in the @Nurph.

    How To Setup a Twitter Back Channel for Your Office

    Would you like to have a real-time Twitter back channel for your office space, building, or community? Here at @SWFourOffices we've been using Nurph as a Twitter-based group chat backchannel for our shared office space. It's turning out to be a fantastic centralised point of contact for chatter, and it's fostering communication that wouldn't usually happen between office members who are on opposite sides of the floor to one another. Most importantly of all, it's turning out to be a ton of fun to use.

    As you can see from visiting the #SWFourOffices Channel, @SWFourOffices is a shared office space that is home to many interesting companies, including @Adzuna, @shimanmedia, @goldenboymedia, @xandermatthew and their team members including @andsallison, @jennifairy123, @amishderodra, and @ManfredKwapong - and they've all been stopping by our new virtual water cooler for real-time Twitter chatter.

    Do you have a Twitter account for your office, company, or brand? Here are three easy steps for setting up your very own Twitter back channel.

    1. Visit and type in your Twitter username

    2. Share your Nurph Channel link with everyone via Twitter, email & Skype

    3. Follow the people you want to chat with

    4. Customise your Twitter profile design

    5. Nurph away!

    12 Tips for Starting a Twitter Hashtag Chat

    Starting and running a successful Twitter hashtag chat can connect you with likeminded people through the topics that matter to you and help in the basic Twitter endeavour of building up a loyal following. You could write a book on the benefits of creating real-time, loyal, conversational Twitter hashtag communities, but I'll stop here and leave you with links to read if you'd like to learn more about the benefits (Hashtags for Business, and How To: Use Twitter Hashtags For Business).

    Some of the best hashtag communities out there are @Journchat, @DesignChat, @CommsChat, @bhamchat, and @ToolsChat - and I've been running Twitter community chat @AllStartups for at least a year now. In that time we've seen some great community chats and startup founders stopping by, including @DuaneJackson, @swombat, @sohear, and @MikeButcher. Based on my observations of the techniques used by the aforementioned hashtag communities, and my own experiences with @AllStartups, here are twelve tips for starting a successful Twitter hashtag chat.

    1. Get the Twitter Account to Match Your Hashtag

    It's almost too obvious to mention but Twitter users are brought together via tweets, so you need to get the Twitter account to match up to the chat and to use it as a centralised point of contact for your chat. Think of your hashtag as being like a real-world event - you wouldn't expect to hold a successful, buzzing event without an official Twitter account, website, or Meetup group, would you? URLs are there for a reason and people need somewhere to get information about your chats - so follow the lead of @Journchat, @DesignChat, @CommsChat, @bhamchat, and @ToolsChat and grab the Twitter account for your hashtag and ask people to follow it and keep them in the loop about the chats. It's no coincidence that these high-flying Twitter communities hold the Twitter account that matches up to the #hashtag they use, or that they have all created online destinations that centralise the info & community surrounding the chats and have a place to publish transcripts and blog posts. For example, , , , and .

    2. Set the Schedule

    Look through the Twitter Chat Schedule spreadsheet and plan the time of your chat to avoid clashing with related chats. Also try to find the best time to suit your target audience and their respective timezone. Don't plan a chat when people will be too busy to participate. Most chats seem to be around 1 hour in length.

    3. Add To Twitter Chat Schedule

    Add your chat to the Twitter chat schedule spreadsheet.

    4. Choose a Topic Before Chatting

    Check blogs and news for the latest hot topics surrounding your hashtag chat and tweet about those to kick off the session. For #AllStartups I look for the latest startup news through sites like @TechCrunch and tweet something about them to break the ice and get the ball rolling.

    5. Ask Who Is In The Chat

    Unfortunately, Twitter's hashtag architecture means that you can't see who is "present" in the chat - be it as a contributor or as an observer (they piece together hashtags using search queries). You can only see who tweets to the chat, and that's why you should always encourage observers to tweet at least once to acknowledge that they are present in the chat. Or you could use and get presence for free.

    6. Publish Transcripts

    Hashtag chats are meant to cultivate interesting conversations and community engagement - and what's the point in having an interesting conversation if you can't share it at a later date or refer back it and learn from it? Here's a blog post about how you can use WhatTheHashtag to archives your conversation. On the other-hand, you could chat via @Nurph in the first place and get conversation transcripts for free without any work whatsoever, and with in built keyword search and easy to share conversation URLs.

    7. Get a Blog

    Set up a blog using Posterous, WordPress, or Tumblr to write longer form updates and announcements about your hashtag chats. @Commschat have done a great job with this.

    8. Follow Community Members

    Find people interested in your industry/community/topic and contact them about participating in your chat. You can start by asking other people on Twitter, searching for keywords using Twitter search, or simply holding a chat, seeing who turns up, and taking it from there.

    9. Encourage @replies To Avoid Infuriating Followers

    Hashtag participations can get annoying for the Followers of the chat participants if they are inundated with tweets that don't interest them. However, you can significantly reduce this problem by asking all tweets to the hashtag to be @replied to the Twitter account that runs the chat. You did get the Twitter account to match your hashtag, didn't you?

    10. Use BufferApp To Schedule Tweets

    People need reminding about events (out of sight, out of mind) so use @BufferApp to schedule tweets about your event throughout the time between the chats, and keep people excited and more likely to discuss the chat through search results.

    11. Contact Influencers

    Find the movers and shakers in your industry/community/topic and contact them about participating in your chat. Once you've got an expert onboard your community contributions will increase significantly. You can find them by asking other people on Twitter, searching for keywords using Twitter search, or simply holding a chat, seeing who turns up, and following the connections once you've met the right people.

    12. Use Nurph

    Yes, this is shameless self promotion - but Nurph makes it easy to chat in to a hashtag via the chat room ettiquette we all know, to avoid spamming your followers when you're chatting thanks to auto @replies, it tells you who is in the chat using presence, it gives you automatic conversation transcripts, you can share transcripts instantly - and we have tons more features in the works that will answer all the other problems that currently get in the way of using Twitter hastags. What are you waiting for? Get in the Nurph!

    Customer Support on Twitter with Nurph

    Slicehost customer support is the best I've experienced on the Web. It's the main reason why I and many other happy Slicehost customers have used them as our go to host for all our web applications over the years. So it's not surprising that Slicehost was acquired by Rackspace in 2008, which, in their own words, was because of Slicehost's fanatical customer focus and great service. I can attest to this; I've queried them many, many times on technical issues, and they've always answered my questions almost instantly. But you may be surprised to hear that I've sent them next to no emails in this time - and it's all thanks to is the backbone to Slicehost's awesome customer support. It may be listed among several Slicehost Customer Community options on but it's far and away my preferred channel with which to communicate with the company.

    Here's why: As a Slicehost customer you can enter a chat room in just a few clicks, meet the Slicehost team and the other customers in the room at the time, and ask a question to a group of people who will answer you in real-time. You get instant feedback to your question versus sending an email off in to the ether with no idea of when to expect a response, and the "virtual destination" experience means that if one Slicehoster can't answer your question, another will pitch in and share their knowledge. In fact you'll usually get at least two Slicehosters joining in with any one question posed in the room. And all this adds up to a very satisfying customer experience. Why? Well it's for the same reasons that people choose to queue up outside Apple stores for the iPhone 4S rather than sitting at home alone making a sales phone call to a telephone operator. Destination, community, and group conversation with like-minded people.

    In any customer in the room can watch the conversations happening between the participants. They can watch out of interest, they can learn a thing or two about another customer's problem that they may have to tackle themselves in the near future, or they can add their two cents to a discussion and feel good for sharing some knowledge and to help out the Slicehost team.

    Now you may be wondering why a company would want to allow customers to chat to one another, or to overhear some of conversations going on around the business - but I've only ever seen this as a significant opportunity that most businesses choose not to benefit from. If you've ever worked in a retail store, or worked on a website with a thriving discussion forum community, you'll realise the benefits to cultivating a strong sense of community around your products & services, whereby both customers and company representatives can mingle and chat to one another in the same space.

    A strong community encourages people to hang out on your turf in close proximity to your products & services, to help each other out, to discuss things about your business that might not have come out of a strictly transactional sales phone call, and to create brand evangelists like the ones you'll find on the Apple discussion forums (the ones who've become an extension of Apple's own sales and support team). Apple doesn't pay these people a penny, yet they're probably performing on par with people on the pay roll. We may be talking about virtual destinations here, but the benefits are very real.

    Slicehost's "destination-based" approach to customer support makes the one-to-one silo of email-based customer support seem a bit daft. When you send an email to a generic "support@" email address only the recipient can help to answer your question - no one else can observe or overhear the conversation, and the whole experience feels very sterile. Yes, you may have multiple recipients on the end of a company wide customer support email address, but the email protocol's TO & CC design is unwieldy at best, and conversations are quickly channeled away from a place where interested parties can participate in and observe them. And you can forget about any opportunity for people outside your company to have any input. is the antithesis of this - it's like a virtual store front where the Slicehost team and the customers can get together to form a community and help each other out at the same time. The chat room timeline keeps everyone in the loop, and the company benefits because important conversations aren't tucked away in a hidden email thread and instead are kept visible at the front of house.

    In interviews about Slicehost and their successful acquisition by Rackspace, Co-Founder Matt Tanase often cites their chat room as playing an important role in how the company connected with their customers. In a Mixergy interview he states how they always had a team member hanging out in the chat room to answer queries, and in a 37Signals interview he states how even before they launched the Slicehost hosting service people were "hanging round our Campfire room asking when we were going to launch". And as Rackspace continues to consume the Slicehost brand there have been discussions of them killing off the Slicehost chat room - but as a testament to how highly valued the chat room is, a post has cropped up in the Slicehost discussion forums in which customers are rallying support to keep the chat room running. But this isn't the only time the customers have shown their appreciation of the chat room - they've also been sharing their positive experiences in tweets, discussion forum posts and blog posts such as this marks-to-slicehost-support/ ever since the company started.

    Now as much as I've been promoting the benefits of, I still believe there are several problems and opportunities with how it works as a customer support channel, and they're all heavily tied in to the concept of online identity.

    This is where Twitter comes in to the equation.

    As is the case for most companies with an online presence, Slicehost is using the @SliceHost Twitter account to broadcast their latest news, service updates, and any other notable information that would be of interest to their customers.

    As Twitter continues to grow as the best public messaging platform on the Web, @Slicehost is inevitably handling more and more customer support queries in tweets. Further to this, @Slicehost is regularly tweeting at followers and telling them to stop by to free their conversations from Twitter's limitations and to chat with multiple members of the Slicehost team simultaneously.

    However, numerous issues arise from the current combination of Twitter and
    1) Identity: doesn't leverage the Twitter API as a platform and that means the chat rooms visitors have to choose a new nickname every single time they log-in, leaving behind all their existing Twitter profile information. Where's the persistent identity? Where's the profile pictures? Where's the bio information? Twitter users should have the option to jump in to the chat room with their identity in tow so that the customer support staff know exactly who they're dealing with.

    2) User Experience: Twitter and are world's apart in terms of user experience. Twitter has @replies, hashtags, and search - all of which add up to a what makes Twitter the mainstream platform it is today. has none of those, and that creates a huge contrast in user experience when you move between Twitter and We're typing out a new username every single time we log-in - and that's just for starters!

    3) Conversation Archives: Conversations are quickly lost on because the chat room doesn't save them, and this means the conversations rarely provide any benefits past the point at which they're visible on screen. Problems are answered in conversations on but no one else benefits. Customers and support staff are repeating the same customer support issues again and again, and as a user I can't go back and view the conversations I've already had or even view conversations that might answer my current questions.

    4) Conversation Sharing: Visitors to can't take conversations with them to use them at a later date, unless of course they copy and paste the conversation in to a txt document (and that's hardly ideal). Wouldn't it be great if the conversations were saved on URLs? URLs make the Web go round, and Web users are constantly sharing URLs - so why aren't we doing this with our conversations?

    5) Keyword Search: Visitors can't go back and search through their past conversations on @Google has taught us about the importance of search.

    6) Private Messaging: There's no quick & easy way for people to share private information with each other on You can drop back to email or telephone, but you need to find a way to share contact details to do so.

    7) Community Building: just doesn't have the fun experience and feature list that could turn the destination with a buzzing community on par with the Apple discussion forums.

    8) Branding: Aside from the domain name and the banner at the top, has inherited very little of Slicehost's branding and corporate color scheme. It feels a like a very different experience to both Slicehost's Twitter account and their home page.

    9) Ease of Use: isn't something that's easy for other brands to get started with - there's lots of clicks, DNS editing, sign-up forms, and configuration - when really it should be as simple as tweeting a URL.

    10) Adoption: Slicehost shouldn't be the only company using this approach to customer support but their usage of needs to be packaged in a way that articulates the value proposition and makes it easy to purchase.

    This is where Nurph comes in.

    Nurph Channels provide a Twitter-based, real-time conversation platform that fixes the issues outlined with Slicehost's current customer support combination of Twitter and If @Slicehost was tweeting instead of they would gain the following benefits (and so will you):

    1) Identity: Nurph is all about the Twitter users - so rather than simply dealing with a new user with only a fresh "nickname" and no reputation system and additional information attached, every user in a Nurph Channel makes the jump with their Twitter reputation in tow. This saves Twitter users from having to type out a nickname every single time they join in. A ton of useful information is lost in the transition from Twitter to, but with Nurph Channels you can see each users' Followees, Followers, latest tweets, home page URL, 160 character bio, and so much more.

    2) User Experience: Twitter and feel completely unrelated in terms of user-experience, but Nurph Channels are built specifically for Twitter and subsequently make much more sense for Twitter-based group chat and customer support. @Anywhere integration, @username auto-complete, Follow links, tweet-streaming - you name it, Nurph's got it.

    3) Conversation Archives: Nurph Channels build up a conversation archive which are accessible companies and their customers. If your company had a thriving discussion forum you wouldn't hide it away and delete all the past threads would you? Apple has one of the best discussion forum communities on the Web, and it's a fantastic resource for both the company and the customers - now Nurph gives you a more advanced tool discussion tool that's built for the social Web of 2011.

    4) Conversation Sharing: The daily conversation archives on URLs Nurph make it easy to share conversations. Had a conversation in Nurph that you'd like to share on Twitter? Just tweet the link!

    5) Keyword Search: Keyword search is baked right in to Nurph. Need to refer back to a past conversation? Just search for a word you can remember and you'll be reading through the conversation transcript in no time.

    6) Private Messaging: Nurph uses Twitter's Direct Message feature, so hey presto - you have instant private messaging without the need to share contact detail in public, or to find back channel workaround (as is the case with

    7) Community Building: Nurph Channels encourage participation and community building via tweets, retweets, and the fact that people feel more connected with other participants in the chat room who have long-standing Twitter identities than they do with random nicknames with no persistent identity. Customers are more likely to chat to one another when they see a profile picture, a bio, a link to a home page, and lots, lots more information. This helps to cultivate a real-time discussion forum style setting, and it might also lead to conversations that are extended outside your own Nurph Channel.

    8) Branding: Nurph Channels are styled with the customisations you've already made to your Twitter profile. So not only do you have zero extra work to do to get a Nurph Channel up & running, you also get a Channel that fits right in to your coporate colors.

    9) Ease of Use: It's incredibly easy to get started with Nurph. Just tweet a link to we do do the rest.

    10) Adoption: Nurph is focusing on a real-time Twitter Channel offering that is packaged in completely different and much more approachable way than Our goal is for every company who's using Twitter to also have a Nurph Channel.

    By combining the tried & tested customer support chat room approach used by Slicehost with the widely adopted Twitter identity platform, Nurph Channels can revolutionise your customer support and give you a destination in which to channel your Twitter community. So if you're using a Twitter account to communicate with your customers, tweet a link to your Nurph Channel and start connecting with your customers in real-time, nurturing the community, and building the conversation archives. It's all about the conversation.

    Twitter Chat Rooms

    We've been getting some great feedback from people using @Nurph to workaround Twitter's shortcomings - including the 140 character limit and it's stifling effect on conversations, the lack of coherent conversation archives, the confusing maze of @-replies, and the lack of a group feature that brings your Twitter community together on the same page...

    @KateRussell (a technology reporter at the BBC) stopped by Nurph few days ago:

    ...and here are some of our favorite individual tweets:

    @swombat: I used @nurph to create an ad-hoc chat room to discuss an article with someone from twitter... it worked really, really well.Thu Jan 13 18:05:05 +0000 2011

    @haersitic: Visit and make your own channel. Beats all that previous tinychat crapTue Jan 18 02:52:38 +0000 2011

    @Shane: My nurph chat thing is actually the coolest thing I've seen that works with twitter in a long while!! Jun 13 23:04:25 +0000 2011

    @yapjonathan: To people who love using Twitter as chat, please try this @nurphWed Jul 27 16:29:21 +0000 2011

    Nurph interfaces with Twitter but no character limitations. Freedom from 140!!! #bizforumThu Jun 30 01:19:48 +0000 2011

    If you're interested in making more of your Twitter conversations and bringing your Twitter community together on the same page in a chat room-style environment, take your Nurph Channel for a spin - it's like your very own Twitter hangout and chat room.

    Who Can Chat Rules

    Further to the great feedback we've received on the "Channels VS Rooms" naming convention in our last blog post, we've also noticed lots of chatter on the topic of Nurph's "who can chat" rules. Let's look at the reasons behind why Nurph works the way it does.

    We want Nurph to enable Twitter users to chat together. Twitter has already defined it's own Following/Follower social rules, and it seems appropriate for Nurph to leverage those. You should be able to tweet a Nurph link out on Twitter in confidence, and for the right people to join the real-time conversation.

    As a Twitter user, you've already defined the people that you want to subscribe to and receive direct messages from, and these are the people you Follow. You also have Followers, the people who've chosen to subscribe to you. It's likely you've reciprocated by following some of your Followers in return, in which case you'll have a reciprocal relationship (Twitter Friends?) whereby you and another Twitter user can both tweet in to each other's home page timeline, and direct message one another.

    When you tweet a Nurph link out on Twitter, all your Followers, or anyone who sees your tweet, can click on it (this could even be someone discovering your tweet via Google search results) - Twitter is a public broadcast system after all. We're certain that you wouldn't want anyone and everyone on Twitter to join your Nurph Channel just because you've shared it in a tweet for all to see (especially the spammers) - you only want to the right people to join the conversation. Nurph caters to this by only allowing the people you follow to chat, yet everyone else can watch the chat happening in real-time without participating. This feels like a natural extension of Twitter; everyone can participate according to your existing Twitter friendship choices, be it as a participant (the people you follow), or as a watcher (your followers).

    For example:

    @stephenfry and @eddieizzard are tweeting away at each other before deciding that they need to move to a system that's more conversational. Rather than leaving all their Twitter followers out of the loop, @stephenfry could tweet a link to and join the channel with @eddieizzard. @stephenfry and @eddieizzard can chat away, and anyone who was previously following the chat can continue to participate according to @stephenfry's friendships (be it as a 'participant' or a 'watcher').

    Several people have mentioned that they would prefer Nurph to allow any Twitter user to join their Channel by default, but at the same time they've usually mentioned that Nurph would need a "Ban" feature (to kick someone out of the channel) which would be decentralised from Twitter's existing friendship rules. Also, another user mentioned that they would prefer it if Nurph allowed their Followers to chat. In this instance you could use the "Block Follower" feature on Twitter to remove followers from the chatter, rather than a Nurph-specific "Ban" feature (like the aforementioned option).

    Nurph's existing rules feel like something that fits, but there's no doubting the "Who can chat" rule is still the most contentious issue around Nurph right now - so we're very interested in your feedback on this. After reading our thoughts, would you prefer:

    a) Only the people you Follow can chat (Nurph now)
    b) Your Followers can chat
    c) Any Twitter user can chat

    ...cast your vote using the link below (or the form underneath), and please leave a comment if you have any further thoughts or suggestions:

    Who Can Chat?

    • The people I follow (Nurph as it stands)
    • My followers.
    • Any Twitter user.

    View Results
    Create a Poll

    Nurph Channels or Rooms (and Hacker News!)

    Here's some exciting Nurph news! Yesterday's blog post about Nurph solving the 140 character problem for @swombat & @destraynor was submitted to Hacker News by a kind HN community member, and it remained at number 3 in the charts for quite some time. We received some great feedback, we chatted with lots of interesting people in, and we spotted lots of Twitterers enjoying using Nurph to break out of the 140 character limit and to chat in real-time with other Twitter users.

    Many interesting points cropped up, most notably the use of the Nurph "Channel" naming convention. Lots of people seemed to refer to Nurph Channels as Twitter Chat Rooms (i.e. Nurph Chat Rooms). Twitter users who've used IRC will understand the Channel terminology, but every other Twitter user will probably have a better grasp of what a Room is. So let's have a vote. Do you prefer the sound of Nurph Channels or Nurph Rooms? Use the following poll to cast your vote: (click the link to go directly to the poll page, or use the yellow form below):

    Nurph 'Channels' or Nurph 'Rooms'?

    • Channels
    • Rooms

    View Results
    Create a Poll