Where librarians and the internet meet: internet searching, Web 2.0 resources, search engines and their development. These are my personal views and not those of CILIP or any other organisation I may be associated with.
Followerwonk says of itself: "Who are you looking for? Whether it's new talent, customers, or just friends, we help find whom you're after.Login with Twitter and we'll overlay your follow status. Want precise tracking of new/lost followers?" It's a pretty good analysis tool. I like the option of being able to search through biographies in particular, which gives searchers a variety of ways of ranking and rating people. There's a really fun 'compare users' option, analyse and track followers and so on. It's packed full of helpful information, and you can get a lot of data without having to register to use it.
Little Bird is an interesting tool. It's in private beta at the moment, but if you register you get a temporary password/user name so that you take a poke around. It's still very tiny at the moment, but it shows a lot of promise.
The first thing that you see in the site are sets reports in different areas, such as beer, wine, food and librarians interestingly enough. So naturally that's where I went. You are presented with a list of the top 500 experts, which seems to be defined by which librarians are most followed by 'insiders', which appears to be something of a self referential group. LibraryJournal for example comes top of the list as its followed by over 1,000 'insiders'. Then there is a listing of new accounts, but followed by insiders, 'listeners' which are people who are following insiders, the most followed insiders, the oldest and the most active accounts. It's worth spending some time wading through this information, since it does give you a good feel for who is who on Twitter - as defined by the other people who Little Bird thinks are important.
There's a very helpful section on what the insiders are sharing. This is a news curation tool which pulls link content directly onto the page so that you can read it there, rather than having to wander all over the web following up links. Next up is a 'comparison' option, to compare other individuals against 'the experts'. This tells you how many experts your victim is following, how many s/he is being followed by, which experts most recently followed that person, and which experts first followed that person.
There is a 'blogs' option - top blogs by inbound links, with listings on most recent posts. Finally, there is a search option which is powered by Blekko, and pulls up websites.
The main flaw - if there is one, is how the 'insiders' are defined. If you don't have the word 'library' or 'librarian' in your biography, then you don't stand any chance of being in the list. The more followers you have, the higher up the listing you go. So if Lady Gaga suddenly put librarian into her biography, she'd zoom to the top of the list, slanting the rest of the content. I think Little Bird needs to have another way of working this out, because it's an easy system to game if you are minded to. However, to be fair, looking at the librarians list, there weren't that many that I would have objected to, but I still find the WeFollow resource a good one to use.
This is another example of the way that the internet - specifically search and authority is now moving, which is towards the individual, and away from the website or the organisation. We're only going to see more of this happening in the future, and Little Bird is just an early example of where we're going to be going in the next few years.
As soon as one search engine disappears, up pops another one. Social Searcher is an interesting multi search engine that creates 3 columns, one each for Facebook, Twitter and Google+ There are a few tweaks - you can choose to focus on a particular country within the Facebook element of search, a location in Twitter and a language in G+.If you're interested in searching for images in Facebook, there's an option for that as well.
The engine can also be used as an interface to search any of those resources directly, and also MySpace and LinkedIn. The section on 'Social Leaks' is also quite interesting in that there are a number of pre-set search links that reveal who is talking about how much they hate their job, what their new phone number is and so on - simply from what people have personally and very publically revealed.
This is a real Swiss Army Knife of a social search engine - certainly one that is worth exploring. And of course, you don't need to have accounts with any of the services in order to use it!
surchur.com 'the dashboard to now' has closed or as they rather sweetly put it "indefinitely paused". It's always a shame to see a search engine close, but in all honesty, this wasn't one of my favourites.
Journalists on Twitter - Breaking News, Politics, Opinion and more If you want to keep up to date with what journalists are tweeting and talking about, it's worth taking a dip into this resource. The main option is just to read the tweetstream, but you can also read from the tweets of specific journalists or newspapers, view links or photographs, and mass follow groups of journalists. It's a really interesting resource and a great way to see what's going to be in the news tomorrow, today.
Real-time search for the social web "Topsy is a realtime search engine powered by the Social Web. Unlike traditional web search engines, Topsy indexes and ranks search results based upon the most influential conversations millions of people are having every day about each specific term, topic, page or domain queried."
I thought that I'd mentioned Topsy before now, but it seems that I haven't, so let's sort that out here and now. It has 6 search options - the Web, Twitter, Photos, Videos, Experts and Trending. It's constantly being updated with new material, so they really mean it when they say realtime. A search provides a link to the appropriate resource, such as a webpage, an option to limit via time - one hour, 1 day, 4 days, 7 days, 30 days, all time, with the number of results that you're going to get.
You can sort by date (the default being relevance) and by language. There's an email alert function, and advanced search option AND help screens.
Very nice, simple and straightforward. Recommended.
This is a new search engine to me, but it's apparently one of the top ten tweeting accounts in the world. Just goes to show that tweeting isn't everything huh? Dragtotop is I suppose a social search engine. The idea is that you search (results pulled from Google), and drag those results across into a new column, thus:
You can create an account and see your own material - so it's a little akin to the Google +1 concept as far as I can tell. I found the screen rather messy however, as you can vote drags up, so we end up with bunches of little icons dotting the place like insane confetti thrown by overactive wedding guests. There's a bunch of stuff that you can do, such as create business pages, share stuff with friends on Twitter and so on. To be honest however, I find it really hard to get enthusiastic about this stuff. It's good and great, but has the problem all these startups suffer with, which is that no-one is using them. And if no-one uses them, why should I? There's a list of recent searches, and I ran mine about 10 minutes ago, and it's still the most recent. Which I'm afraid says quite a lot.
The bar has just been raised again on Twitter search. PostPost is a search engine that searches through your tweets and 200 of your followers. It's currently searching through a collection of 250,000+ tweets of mine and followers. I can't unfortunately see a list of which followers or how they were chosen though, which is a nuisance, and I can't tell it which to index, so that's a bit of a pain. However, to balance that out, there's a bunch of good stuff.
I can run a search on any term or terms as you'd expect. I can then limit that search to specific individuals, which is really helpful in tracking down a particular post. I can also get a display of tweets with links in them, or with photographs. I can then limit that to specific individuals. I can't actually go to the next step though, of limiting search to a specific person's tweets with photographs in them AND a keyword, so that's a slight frustration. However, that's a fairly minor point.
PostPost also saves your searches, and provides access to existing searches, and also allows one click access to mentions of you and key people you follow. They also do one click results for reviews and commentaries on films, apps and games, although you can't choose your own defaults for this, which is a slightly irritation again.
However, in total, it's a really nice engine, and I like the personal aspects, because that's what I'm most interested in - I follow people because I respect and value their opinions, and this provides me with a really easy way to retrieve them. I'm certainly adding this to my collection of engines.
Real-time collaborative search engine. OK, simple concept. Use their search engine, search for and find the stuff you want. Arrange URLs into folders. Get friends and colleagues to do the same thing and collaborate together. That's great - but to be honest, I can't see much advantage in this with reference to shared bookmarks, wiki and so on.
Social Searching. In two minds over this. The advantage is that it does go a very long way back to find material for you, but you have to sign into your twitter account and it only finds stuff for you if you remember to put your own name in. If you want to search the stream of any friends you have to put them in - so I can't search all my contacts, just one at a time as far as I can tell. Same with the Facebook option as far as I can tell.
Bottom line then - great for searching for something that you know you wrote/tweeted, or tracking down that illusive tweet from a friend. Not a general search engine for twitter per se though.