When Twitter first appeared on the scene, the best way to engage on Twitter was through third party interfaces like Seismic, or Twhirl . Later, Seismic grew up and acquired Twhirl, Tweetdeck and Hootsuite appeared providing greater functionality and scheduling functions. But the need to track Twitter activity became quickly apparent, and as the use of Twitter has grown to over 500,000 tweets a day, users need to not only participate but to monitor the activity on Twitter.
In order for the chaos that is the Twitter stream to make sense, we need to be able to search for people and for topics in an easy and effective manner. There a numerous tools available, but here are five good ones that will help you determine what your community is talking about, what content is relevant to them, and what content you should create or curate;
- Monitter – According to their web site “Monitter is a real time twitter search tool that enables you to monitor a set of keywords on twitter. It also allows you to narrow the search to a particular geographic location, allowing you to find out what’s going onin a particular part of the world.” The keywords here are real time and geographic. This would enable a business to determine who their local potential clients are, engage them promptly, and even see what back channel conversations are going on about relevant events in their marketplace. As soon as you type a search term in the box on their web site a column is created with your topic. A click on the upper right of the column allows you to choose a zipcode, and what distance from that zipcode you want to search. You can pause the flow of information at any time by pressing a pause key next to that, and every tweet allows you to ReTweet or reply with a single click of the mouse.
- Social Mention – Social Mention, like Montitter is a real time search tool, but does not have the location feature. Instead, it has the ability to create alerts, much like Google alerts that are emailed to you periodically. It also has some basic sentiment measurement tools to allow you to determine if mentions are positive, negative or neutral. LIke most free sentiment monitoring tools, oyu’ll need to review some of the tweets to get a feel for what they really mean, but its a neat set of statistics nonetheless.
- Twitrratr – Twittrratr emphasizes that sentiment monitoring, and does it more graphically than Social mention. As soon as you type a search term, the results are broken into three columns, showing the positive, neutral, and negative comments so you can easily determine if they are accurately sorted. For me this is a great tool to use for a quick topic review or to see how people are responding to an individual., and event, or any other topic
- Crowdbooster – Crowdbooster will show you how effective your engagement is in terms of the audience you reach. It will analyze the hours when your followers are most active and suggest those times for you to schedule tweets. It will also point out when you might increase your influence by suggesting additional engagement with influencers you have already interacted with.
- LocaFollow – LocaFollow allows you too search by Bio, Location, Name or Tweets to allow you to search the Twitter stream more specifically. The tool is powered by a Google search, but its flexibility makes it worth a quick look. There is constant conversation about find twitter users in a specific geography, and LocaFollow performs admirably there. Even more interesting is how it might be used to find people in a specific demographic. Want to find the bowling enthusiasts near you? Fans of your favorite spots team? Single Moms? Single Dads? Empty nesters? Any demographic that might be mentioned in a bio is searchable, and that might help you find members of your target community.