Monday, October 1, 2007

Tracking Twitter

Twitter’s new track feature is really remarkable. Back in March, I  asked (on Twitter, naturally):

So… if I wanted to monitor the twitter public timeline for mentions of “FeedBurner”, how would I go about doing that?

I ended up answering my own question, and it spawned a nice comment from Chris Thilk who implemented my hack (using Google’s site search) to monitor his own topics of interest. A few months later, David Churbuck at Lenovo realized he needed to be monitoring Twitter as well, and went the same route as I had.

But now there’s a far more efficient, not to mention comprehensive, way to do this: implement the Twitter track feature, and you’re notified in real time as people make a comment about the term you’re interested in. I’m now tracking “FeedBurner” and so far am seeing far more twits than I’d seen using my Google search hack. Nice.

As Twitter makes replies more visible (in the past, replies were harder to see if you weren’t already following the person who replied to you), this ability to create a unified notification mechanism for terms of interest is really valuable. Anyone out there who wants to monitor how their company/brand/product is being discussed online can now be alerted instantly when a conversation happens; from there, a quick reply (replies on Twitter are designated with “@username”) can be used to participate in the conversation.

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