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With social networks driving traffic the way they do and the sheer amount of content that is being linked to and shared through Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis, the ability to search those networks in real-time is valuable. Google indexes and crawls fast, but it can’t keep up with the daily deluge of content being shared through social media. Knowing what is popular right now is important.

social media, news, social media vocabulary, twitter, crowdsource, social networking

Trending topics and Twitter searches allow for a more immediate pulse on any particular topic, but going to each site and running searches can be tedious. On top of that, there isn’t really a great way to determine what the important results of those real-time searches are.

That’s where  Topsy comes in.

Topsy takes into account the popularity of a link being shared, but also considers who is talking about it. In the world of Topsy, certain users have more influence than others and that influence score is based on the ratio of ReTweets they receive versus ReTweets they give. New content rises to the top quickly based on what Twitter users are sharing the most and then weighted to give favor to links shared by the more influential people. It is important to note that Topsy doesn’t look at number of followers as a condition for how influential a Twitter user is, just the number of people that ReTweet you.

The idea is that links shared in real-time by the most influential people will be looked at more and shared more and therefore be more important to searchers. A really influential Twitterer can go a long way toward starting what could become a trending topic. In addition to the unique result structure, Topsy has a couple of other tricks that make it a powerful search engine. Once you search a word you can then view results filtered by the last hour, last three hours, past day, past week, the past month, and all time. The results change based on the timeline you select as topics swirling around a particular search term change.

Topsy gives you a feeling of taking the pulse of the social media world at any given time. There is little to no lag between when content starts to become popular and when Topsy displays it. The results are extremely fluid, from one hour to the next you are going to get different results and that makes total sense for the way social media sharing happens. A story, post, or bit of news become popular very quickly while it is relevant and then passes and something more important replaces it as time moves on.

It’s the social media circle of life! The life-cycle of relevancy for a piece of content can be so fleeting you might miss it without being able to look at real-time results. If you really need to know what people are saying about something in the moment, try real-time search, Twitter and even Facebook seem to react faster to breaking news and important events than almost anything else on the web, including news sites.

Topsy is one of many great tools we cover in our social media classes!

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