OK, twitter is supposed to be ephemeral, but if you want to use it as a big data stream and do some research on it, then tools to capture activity on there are of interest. It’s a while since I participated in seminar/conference type events, and last night’s launch of the Centre for Digital Business at Salford University sparked up my interest in it again.
Of course such tools are also of interest in relation to monitoring the effectiveness of social media marketing campaigns too, so I thought I’d have a delve.
This (http://brodiesnotes.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/list-of-tools-for-finding-or-capturing.html) comprehensive list came up top on Google and has a LOT of very useful info, so it deserved it’s top spot indeed.
I tried searchhash (http://searchhash.com/) which looked to be a good tool but it didn’t pick up any results at all for #digitalbusiness and I knew there were plenty just from doing a search in twitter.
Topsy was more promising. It gave a list of tweets sorted by popularity (= number of retweets). There are options for number in the last hour, 17 hours, 1 day, 7 days, 30 days and all time (actually I tried another term and the options changed so I guess it varies on distribution).
Then I clicked on the free analytics graph and that gets interesting for me (see above and http://analytics.topsy.com/?q=%23digitalbusiness). Nice graph, but, like any of these kinds of analytics, what does it really say? There were 400+ tweets, so what?
Using the advanced search allows you to analyse search terms rather than just a hashtag. Start comparing that with two other terms and then we’re really cooking up something (image source http://analytics.topsy.com/?q=digital%20business%2C%23digitalbusiness%2Csocial%20media%20business). But still not totally sure what it’s telling me.
So before I got sucked into a computer world vortex of thinking about things I might search for and analyse on twitter, the public minded part of my brain made me try out one of the tools on the above list that the author says “no idea, log in with Facebook – can anyone tell me what it does?”
My short description of what Socialsearching does is “allows you to find a post (but only from someone in your friends list) that you dimly remember and you still sort of remember what it was about to put in key words” OR “allows you to check how repetitive one of your friends is in relation to how many times they mention a particular topic”. So far I’m not sure I can think of a big use for this one.
But wait! I was about to publish this blogpost and noticed a little slider bar button at the top and thought, “better click that and see what happens”. That reveals the option to logon and search twitter instead. (Note to the developers – too subtle for my liking!) Again you are limited to searching to specific people that you follow and then putting in a search term. I can see this as being more likely something you would use to find a tweet you remember on a topic that was a while ago. But that’s also what ‘favouriting’ as you go along is for, no?
By the way, if anyone has diligently read this far hoping for some amazing insight into the meaning of the graphs, all I can say is sorry! Only questions here. I’m seeing a lot of infomatics as eye candy these days to brighten the page and lacking in meaningful substance. Please feel free to offer contrary view and your own interpretation in the comments.