Topsy Review

By dabilendabilen (1261511216|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

Topsy: The Power of Tweets

Topsy is one of the tools that I have been recently introduced to ever since I joined the Tweeting world of Twitter. Although, I am still hesitant about become a fully fledged Twitter supporter, I will say I have been pleasantly surprised with some of the conveniences and innovation that Twitter has come up with to further facilitate mass communication in a day when a wait time of minutes for an email can at times be far too long.

Essentially, Topsy is a search engine that searches through the thousands of tweets taking place each second to find relevant articles, links, etc. given the query that the user types into the

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search engine. Although many other websites look to leverage twitter in some way, may it be searching for certain key words, or activity around certain topics, I could not find another site that truly leveraged the power and purpose of Twitter. The original conception of Twitter revolved around getting the word out on important topics as quick as possible. Topsy looks to make that possible for those who do not want to be a part of Twitter. Especially now that Twitter has become very much a micro-blog to express the emotional outbursts of teen rebels internationally, staying out of that scene might not be such a bad idea.

Topsy really fills in an outlet to take advantage of Twitter while keeping the much sought after privacy that the internet has slowly looked to erode.

How It Works

The idea is simple:

  1. Enter a Query
  2. Search for same words throughout twitter
  3. Aggregate links embedded in relevant tweets
  4. Display links in order of most to least hits
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Once the results are displayed you can click directly on any of the links that seem relevant and interesting. To help out each link has the original tweet below it and usually a small logo to the left indicating the source, small features that I found nice. Lastly, each results has the number of tweets mentioning this link, so you can see really how "relevant" the output is.

Overall I was really impressed with these outputs and have already begun using this to see what is the most popular news/joke/video at the very moment of search.

Why You Should Use It

In addition to all the innovations mentioned above, it is my honest opinion that this is the best application of what I would deem a "relevant search." As "relevant" is actually relative to the world around you, I think relevancy cannot be decided by a pioneered technology, rather it must be declared by the masses. Therefore the idea of searching through the current thoughts of thousands of people to see what is "relevant" to your query is the best way to carry out this type of search.

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Also, if looking for general information on a topic of little familiarity it is helpful to see what other people with a similar interest are looking at. This type of search is more helpful in comparison to a search engine that cannot truly judge how helpful something is.

I give it a big thumbs up!

Other Competitors

In looking at why you should use Topsy, I think it is important to consider the competition to see why this engine is better. Firstly, there was not another engine I could find that acutally ran its search function in this way - using Tweets to power the results. That said there are other blog searchers that try to provide the same convenience, one of the more popular ones seems to be Surchur. Although useful in scanning through blogs, the outputs are a little convoluted and cannot deliver on the relevance like Topsy.

Another well liked engine is Scoopler, which I like but I do not know on what basis the results are coming back other than recency. Overall, the main appeal of Topsy personally is that it delivers upon a basic need for relevancy that I do not see other real time search engines delivering upon.

To add some more color, in out BIT 330 class we did a experiment on these types of search engines and other Twitter products and these were the exercise results.

How I Use It

In terms of applying Topsy to this project I see that the solar industry is getting a lot attention around how to make it applicable on a small individual scale. Understanding this mass interest I will do additional research in how to green your home solar style. Currently installing solar panels is an expensive project that does not have the benefit to make the cost necessarily worth it, but I will continue to use Topsy to hopefully stumble upon some articles that will provide solar tips that are affordable.

Pros/Cons

Pros Cons
Usability Super user friendly, just type your query and go Could offer more customized advanced search options initially, but you can customize after a search
Interface Edgy. Very simple and the colors are inviting. Also, the testimonials at the bottom of the homepage gave me some inspiration. Also, the date focus offered after searching is nice. Not super artsy. No customized Google Artwork. Sorry.
Innovation I really think they have brought to life the relevancy search Does not seem to offer much more beyond searches, only time will tell
Effectiveness Does the job as it says, searches tweets, delivers results No comment.

Personal Testimony

This product alone has turned me on to Twitter. It is great to see that everyones voice leads to a common output that is helpful to all. That said, I will try to start Twittering more to be part of the revolution.

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