It was the greatest thing at Blog Indiana 2010: someone on the stage mentioned BlastFollow.com as a way to follow a lot of people who were all using a specific hashtag, like, say #BIN2010. Everyone in the room immediately went to BlastFollow on their laptop and started using it.
Unfortunately, BlastFollow went away after Twitter upgraded their system, not allowing non-OAuth access to the API, blocking 3rd party apps that let you mass follow and unfollow people, and insert other geek mumbo-jumbo here; I can’t recall everything. TweepML.org was a suitable replacement for a while, until they shut down in October the site to make some repairs, promising to get the system back up two weeks later. It’s early April, and they’re still not back up.
I had a chance to check FollowBlast out right after the Indianapolis Social Media Brekafast, using the hashtag #indysm.
The way FollowBlast works is that it pulls up the 50 most recent tweets that used that particular hashtag, and it lets you follow those people, either selecting them one at a time, or allowing you to mass follow those 50 people. (That’s how they get around the limits Twitter has placed on mass following/unfollowing.)
While the product is still very new, and has a few bugs to work out, it’s a great tool, especially if you go to a conference or event you’re not familiar with. It’s ideal for people who have newly joined Twitter and have an interest in a particular idea or event.
My one word of caution to FollowBlast users is that you do not use the Follow All link until you have checked out the results first. The first time I did it, I unintentionally followed someone I did not want to and had to go back and unfollow them.
The tool is supposed to filter out people you’re already following, but that wasn’t the case for my results, as most of them ended up being people I was already following. However, knowing Noah and Chuck, I’m sure that will be fixed soon.
FollowBlast has a promising future as a very useful tool for special event and conference attendees. It’s filling a very big hole that BlastFollow and TweepML have left, and as FollowBlast grows and improves, it’s going to become indispensable.