When social media is discussed, the same names come up as near synonyms for the concept: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Many of the search engines that are devoted to monitoring social media are similarly limited. Microsoft’s Bing Social Search and Google’s Update both return results from Twitter and nowhere else. My favorite real-time search, Collecta, returns results from the most obvious sites as well as other less known, and different types of content: blog comments, videos, etc.
Pandia Search Engine News did a nice round up yesterday of 6 real time search engines. They mention Collecta and a number of others. Not surprisingly, some of them are primarily Twitter search.
I won’t rehash the article, which is very helpful, but here are a couple of thoughts that might help lawyers. Topsy was new to me, since it is often filtered out by corporate Web filtering focused on social media. The results set is not particularly different from other Twitter searches, but they have a nice Expert feature. Click on the Expert link at the top, type in your search, and it will attempt to return a list of possible authorities, on Twitter, that match your keyword. This can help if you are using Twitter as a current awareness tool in finding people who are talking about your topic, and are well-regarded. The expert query appears to rely on how often the person’s content is mentioned.
Another that was new to me was 48ers. While not as extensive as Collecta, it aggregates results from Digg.com, Delicious.com bookmarks, and Google Buzz, as well as Facebook. Since these are different from those at Collecta, it would be a good complementary site if you are looking at something in real-time (give or take).
The other search tools seem to be powerful for Twitter results but not for mining much else. The article is a good sign that real-time search is popping up all over, and some of the Twitter-only sites like Leapfish.com are trying interesting things with presenting their real time results.