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AN OVERBROAD PATENT ON FILTERING TWITTER FEEDS FROM BUSINESS CONTACTS - This application from Salesforce.com seeks to patent the idea of... filtering feeds associated with individuals in a business directory matching a search query (e.g. data managers) and displaying the filtered feed on a computer! 10 minutes of your time can help narrow US patent applications before they become patents. Follow @askpatents on twitter to help.

QUESTION - Have you seen anything that was published before Aug 18, 2011 that discusses:

  1. A method of FILTERING BUSINESS CONTACTS; aggregating twitter feeds from the filtered contacts; and
  2. Searching within the FILTERED TWITTER FEED;

If so, please submit evidence of prior art as an answer to this question.. We welcome multiple answers from the same individual.

EXTRA CREDIT - A reference to anything that meets all of the criteria to the question above AND ALSO enables the user to CONTACT members of the filtered network feed.

TITLE: VIEWING A CONTACT NETWORK FEED IN A BUSINESS DIRECTORY

Summary: [Translated from Legalish into English] A method of filtering individuals, receiving feeds from the filtered individuals, and (optionally) contacting some of the individuals, who may or may be preexisting contacts. For example, a system outputs the twitter feeds from the data center managers that mention a competitor's specific product and (optionally) allowing you to contact some of these data center managers to say, “Hey! buy my product instead”.

  • Publication Number: US 20130159434 A1
  • Application Number: 13/558,577
  • Assignee: Salesforce, Inc.
  • Prior Art Date: Seeking prior Art predating Aug 18, 2011
  • Open for Challenge at USPTO: Open through Dec 20, 2013

Claim 1 requires each and every step below:

A method for viewing a contact network feed in a business directory environment, comprising:

  1. Searching, based on a user specified search, a business directory to determine contacts;

  2. Identifying network feeds associated with the contacts;

  3. Outputting the network feeds;

  4. Filtering, based on a user specified filter, the network feeds to determine filtered network feeds; and

  5. Outputting the filtered network feeds to a display device.

In English this means:

A method for filtering (e.g., twitter) feeds, comprising:

  1. Searching a business directory to find individuals (potential contacts); and

  2. Identifying network feeds associated with these individuals and getting the feed data

  3. Creating a filtered network feed based on the network feeds and

  4. Displaying the filtered network feed

Good prior art would be evidence of a system that did each and every one of these steps prior to the Aug, 2011.

You're probably aware of ten pieces of art that meet this criteria already... separately, the applicant is claiming enabling the user to CONTACT members of the filtered network feed.


"Viewing a network feed in a business directory environment” from Salesforce


What is good prior art? Please see our FAQ.

Want to help? Please vote or comment on submissions below. We welcome you to post your own request for prior art on other questionable US Patent Applications.


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I believe the notion of "contacts" in this application (undefined, as "business directory") does not imply any relation between system user and individuals registered in the business directory. Cf: In block 104, network feeds associated with contacts are identified. By way of example and without limitation, this can include the database system identifying network feeds from 2,200 individuals listed in data.com as data center managers. So first step is rather searching a business directory for individuals based on a search query. –  Paul Guyot Jul 26 '13 at 13:17
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4 Answers 4

Windows Phone 7 had this integrated into the OS.

Windows Phone 7 was announced on February 15, 2010, and released publicly on November 8, 2010. I believe the announcement said "deep twitter integration", and probably demonstrated it, but I don't remember for sure.

In WP7, on the people hub, under "what's new", it would get a list of all twitter updates for all of your contacts, and group them in order of release, and you could tap on the text, which would give you a means to retweet, or you could tap on the name, which would open up that contact in your phone, and you could call them, send a twitter message, or a text, or other communication means (like a facebook message)

I believe you could "filter" this list also, by creating a group of people for similar contacts.

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The following paper (2009) predates Claim 1 as well as other elements from the claims:

  • WaterCooler: exploring an organization through enterprise social media, Brzozowski, Proceedings of the ACM 2009 international conference on Supporting group work Pages 219-228 ACM New York, NY, USA, 2009 [PDF, ACM Library]

Brzozowski teaches:

A method for viewing a contact network feed in a business directory environment, comprising:

  • Searching, based on a user specified search (Figure 1, Users can also search for keywords or people [4.1.2]), a business directory to determine contacts (It then extracts employees’ names from the free-text author field and maps them into the company LDAP directory, which provides data on their organization, location, management chain, job function, and contact information. [4.1]) ;

  • Identifying network feeds associated with the contacts; (We started by aggregating RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds from social media servers across the company [...] WaterCooler associates posts with [...] author [4.1], WaterCooler cross-references post authors with the employee directory, providing filters by person, organizational unit, and job function. [4.1.1])

  • Outputting the network feeds (figure 2);

  • Filtering, based on a user specified filter, the network feeds to determine filtered network feeds; and ([4.1.2])

  • Outputting the filtered network feeds to a display device. (figure 5 with search box)

Additionally, Watercooler allows you to contact authors of the filtered feeds, thus teaching other limitations of claim 11.

Cf figure 3, you can obviously click on the e-mail and other contact information, as well as People used the wiki in parallel with the standard emergency phone trees to let colleagues know they were OK, and to offer shelter to displaced employees. [4.1.3]

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Back in 2005, Rollyo was capable of supporting a selection of RSS feeds (instead of twitter feeds) and then providing search, in other words filter based on keyword, within this listing of feeds. The selection of feeds could be saved as a "filtered" search.

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Just take a look at the tweetbot app it has all of these features, or any other twitter client made in the last 3 years.

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