Anyone used to be able to send a postcard to a U.S. service member by addressing it to "Any Service Member." Now a name is required to send a physical letter. That's where the Gratefulapp mashup comes in. It broadcasts your message via Twitter to troops--or anyone else who checks out its rotating front page.
Gratefulapp uses Twitter search to find messages with its #wearegrateful hash tag. Because Twitter's search expires after awhile, it stores a copy in its own database so that messages don't disappear. In that way, it is similar to the Q&A service Replyz that we wrote about recently. Both use Twitter to currate content that was previously collected a different way.
Gratefulapp's developer Al Partridge tells us that getting good content requires a little work after the search. Here are the steps, according to Partridge:
- Dupes - I check to see if I already have that twitter id in the db
- Spam - I run all messages (whether authored in Twitter or on the site) through WordPress' Akismet
- Custom Filters - I look for RT or hashtags other than #wearegrateful
Additionally, users can flag inappropriate tweets. Despite the extra lengths to collect good content, Gratefulapp is still a fairly simple service performing an admirable role. In fact, that it isn't a big development project is testament to the Twitter API and how easy it is to tap into the Twitter's constant supply of tweets.
One could imagine many tools like Gratefulapp for sharing messages to other groups. In fact, we likely list a few in our over 400 Twitter mashups. But before you look at those, consider sharing your message for the military using Gratefulapp.