When Hangout moved its development team from Boston to Glendale, California earlier this year, Faulkner, who had been VP of product development, didn't make the move. Since June he has been working on a start-up of his own, GraphEdge (formerly called VoxBot.)
Faulkner calls GraphEdge a "social analytics platform" that can let you know how many of your Twitter followers are real people (as opposed to spammers' accounts or automated "bots"); who are the most popular other Twitterers among your followers; and how quickly you're adding new followers, among other things. The service is designed primarily for companies that use social media to reach their customers, though Faulkner acknowledges it'll appeal to all of us vain individual Twitter users as well.
Here's more on this very young company:
I found the report that GraphEdge produced for my Twitter account to be quite interesting. GraphEdge termed 94 percent of my followers as "legitimate" (illegitimate followers include accounts that have been suspended by Twitter, or accounts following more than 2000 people). Over the past week, I'd somehow attracted 123 new followers, but 21 people chose to stop following me. (Why, I wonder? It can't be for a lack of wit or trenchant 140-character insights.) GraphEdge also shows you the names of the users in both categories.
GraphEdge also shows you who the most popular other Twitter users are among your followers (Michael Arrington of TechCrunch was one), as well as the most relevant/similar of these other users (the Twitter accounts of fellow Globie Hiawatha Bray, for instance, venture capitalist Bob Metcalfe, and business newspaper Mass High Tech.)
There's a lot more that GraphEdge could do -- like show you which of your "tweets" have gotten the most re-tweets (meaning they've been shared or circulated by other Twitter users), or which of your followers have the biggest networks of their own followers. But the service is still in beta, and Faulkner has been boot-strapping it so far.
"Hoping to get this thing generating modest revenue quickly," Faulkner writes via e-mail. "In that scenario, won't need funding (or just very little), and the thing may not be interesting enough to a VC."
The revenue plan involves a free service for Twitter users with a small number of followers (below 2,000) and a paid service for bigger users (who may very well be businesses.) Pricing is yet-to-be-determined. "I'm not building a sales-heavy business," Faulkner explains. "[That's] not my style, and I don't want to be beholden to a few big, monolithic customers. So it needs to be self-serve, and so low [in price] that it's a no-brainer 'yes' for any company using Twitter (especially given that it's likely to be junior marketing staff who are requesting the expenditure)." Right now, though, it's free for anyone, and Faulkner is still interested in beta users who can provide feedback.
To sign up for the service, all you have to do is follow GraphEdge on Twitter.
Know of any other local Twitter-related companies? Post 'em in the comments...
About Scott Kirsner
Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.
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More from Scott
March 3: Web Innovators Group
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March 7-8: MassDigi Game Challenge
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April 3-4: Mass Biotech Annual Meeting
Issues facing the region's life sciences community.