Create A Community With Tokbox’s Chat Apps

Create Or Install Chat Applications That Enhance Your WordPress Site
You Might Have To Start Combing Your Hair Now.

Tokbox is one of those exciting startups that you are eager to see create applications that work with the WordPress platform.  With cool ideas, a well-documented API, easy use/installation, and a strong support network,  Tokbox is a great new addition to the market.

But what does Tokbox do?  Basically, Tokbox creates applications that make face-to-face video chatting  (as opposed to an IRC-style chat) an integral part of your website.  Installation and the first 25,000 minutes are free.  After that, they start to charge (the pricing information is here, for the curious).

Specific Applications

Here are descriptions of their existing applications (in their own words):

  1. TokShow: Host your own virtual talk show for hundreds of fans right on your site
  2. Group Chat Embed: Teach a class or host a video meeting online
  3. Community Bar: Build your site’s community by allowing free face to face engagement across your site
  4. Group Chat Button: Let your readers discuss your content face to face with each other right on your blog or news site.
# 2, #3, and #4 all do pretty much the same thing, practically speaking.  They allow you to chat with your visitors or your visitors to chat with each other.  You can also choose whether you would prefer for your users to only chat with other users on your website or with users across the network of sites that also have Tokbox installed.  #1, TokShow, is a little bit different, and kind of exciting, in that it essentially provides for simulcasting of your own webcam content to a huge audience on your blog.

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Coming Soon…

There is another exciting application that they have in the works and I have had my eye on for a little while now.  Tokbox has been beta-testing (link here) a very smooth, slick, and high-quality webcam recorder that would be a real treat to work with.  Tokbox, if you’re reading this, please make an app out of this.  I am not asking.  I am begging.

Installation

The easiest way to get Tokbox on your WordPress site is to simply install their OpenTok Video Chat plugin.  It will allow you to initiate conversations with as many of your users as would like to speak with you (up to ten at one time …).

Another way to implement the Tokbox API on your site is to use their Plug-n-Play applications (the ones profiled above in Specific Applications).  To get started, just submit your email address.  You will be immediately emailed an embed code and a secret code with which to manage the conversation as an admin user.

The final option for installation is to use their API to configure your own, unique, applications.  To see some examples of what others have done, check out this gallery.  To learn more about how to turn your website into a lively community, check out WPMU Dev’s Communities plugin or the Buddypress plugin.

 

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Comments (2)

  1. Currently we use Google Hangouts to do some group chatting to support our community – how does a TokBox compare to that? What are the pros and cons of using one over the other? I like the idea of being able to have a “proprietary” video chat function on our site, especially for small groups of people, but is superior in anyway to using Google Hangouts?

    • I would say that the big difference is in how you intend to interact with visitors:

      Google Hangouts is better for team work. It is easy to manage the list of participants and has lots of good sharing tools. It also offers the unique and incredibly cool function of letting people call in with their phones when they aren’t able to login. But it is poor for casual users. You have to sign up for Google+ to use it and in general, Google+ apps are allergic to pseudonyms.

      Tokbox is better for informal chatting with visitors. No sign ups involved, the visitor just clicks a button and is talking away. Users are effectively anonymous.

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