Tint Builds Real-time Social Media Aggregator Platform

4 min read Michael Carroll on Jun 12, 2014

Social media aggregatorTint is a social media aggregator platform that enables brands to curate and display custom social feeds on their websites, displays, and public event walls. Tint allows users to create social hubs using any social network, and create a deeper level of engagement with their audience.

The app gives moderators full control over what content is published, and enables them to push social content live in real time, as it’s published by the original user. The Tint dashboard can easily be embedded into a website or display.

Displaying Social Content, As It Actually Happens

Social media moves fast, really fast. But what good is publishing social content if it’s delayed and the conversation is already onto the next big thing? Social aggregators need to display published social content in real time. As a result, Tint needed a real-time infrastructure that was not only reliable, but low latency no matter anywhere in the world.

Social media aggregator

Build vs Buy and Choosing PubNub

When adding real-time functionality to a web or mobile application, development teams first have to decide whether they want to build the infrastructure themselves or go with a data stream network service provider. With a small development team, Tint had to decide whether they wanted to commit substantial time to building out a real-time infrastructure in-house.

“I knew it would be a challenge to host and manage our own socket servers and to deal with that infrastructure. At the time, our team only had two engineers, and we didn’t have the ability to build that infrastructure out on our own and still make progress on our own product,” said Ryo Chiba, co-founder and developer at Tint.

Once the Tint had decided on the build-vs-buy discussion and decided they would go with a data stream network service provider, they researched the competitive landscape for real-time communication SaaS products. Most important to the development team was looking for a real-time solution that was low latent, reliable anywhere in the world, and secure.

Social media aggregator

“I looked into the specifics of the real-time communication protocols. What really made PubNub stand out from the others was reliability. For example, I read that other protocols didn’t fall back as gracefully as PubNub, on older browsers or in the case of a data center going down.”

Publishing in 1/10 second or less

Tint enables moderators to curate and approve social content then push that content to a dashboard as it happens. To achieve this functionality, Tint needed a real-time pub/sub infrastructure that could deliver this content in real time. Using PubNub Data Streams, Tint got the low latent speed they needed, allowing moderators to publish content to the dashboard in 1/10 second or less.

“It’s an instant feedback. You can be using Tint on your phone, approve it, and it shows up on the screen instantly. That’s a big wow factor.”

Importance of Every Message’s Delivery

Speed and reliability was especially important for one of Tint’s most popular use cases, live event dashboards. This could be as small as a single projector screen at a 100 person meetup, to a jumbotron in a 60,000 person stadium. Messages need to be published the millisecond they’re approved, not say, a minute or two later. Even more importantly, if Tint’s real-time data stream network was to go down, the core value of Tint’s product is gone.

Social media aggregator

“For example, you tweet something on a campaign wall or page, and that tweet doesn’t show up in say 10 seconds, you’re losing engagement. And that engagement is the core of Tint. If PubNub goes down, it leaves a bad impression with our customers and with us. We’ve never had an issue with downtime.”


Integrating PubNub into the app was seamless for the Tint development team. In under a week, they had PubNub Data Streams integrated and live into all their features. Instead of building out the entire real-time infrastructure themselves, they were able to focus on developing their core product which in turn significantly reduced time to market.

“With all the API and SaaS products out there, you’re first looking for great documentation. PubNub was so well documented and easy to use. We had the two Functions, send and receive, only took us a week to have PubNub integrated into all of the Tint dashboards and themes.”

Emulating Real Life Conversations

Tint is a powerful tool for curating and publishing social content to millions of users simultaneously. And that can only be achieved with a global and redundant real-time data stream network.

“Real-time is essential, and delivery of social content as it happens is the core of Tint. It was so important to have a real-time infrastructure that would work 100% of the time. It’s a layer that adds so much value to our product,” said Chiba.