Top Twitter search apps for journalistic means

Last week in class with Ellen Mrja, we examined several Twitter application tools that make for a more productive experience while discovering real-time news & information on Twitter. While it is safe to say there are loads of search applications, their interfaces, search options and overall effectiveness vary. Feeling overwhelmed by the endless list of services, I went on to explore some of these to find what search applications work best for me.

For class we are assigned to find  follow-up information on the conflict between Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and Planned Parenthood that began after Komen announced their decision to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. Since then, the new policy has been overturned after Komen abruptly faced a monumental stream of criticism on Twitter and Facebook. Over the weekend I visited several Twitter search applications to inquire any new information that has arose since Komen’s decision to overturn their new policy.

Here are the top Twitter search services I found accommodating:

Twitter Search
Twendz
Tweefind
Twazzup

Twitter Search

Twitter Search is hosted on the official Twitter server. I thought it was a good place to start my research before outsourcing to unfamiliar search applications. I searched “Susan G. Komen,” “Planned Parenthood,” and “Susan G. Komen Planned Parenthood.” Results of my searches showed avatars of tweeters, links to original tweets, time and date of tweet and what application he or she used to send tweet out. Twitter Search also gives you the option to view all tweet search results or just the top tweets. Here are 3 tweets I found valuable during my search from respectable newsrooms:

NBC Nightly News & CNN Breaking News tweeted links to new stories of Karen Handel’s resignation and her alleged involvement with Komen’s decision to cut Planned Parenthood funding. The Washington Post linked news story of Komen’s CEO Nancy Brinker’s letter in response to an open letter written by  Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn.

Twendz

Twendz highlights and analyzes conversation themes and updates new tweets as they happen. This search application alerts users of heating topics, conversation trends, and points of view. In the left column, users are also able to determine speed in which Twendz updates new tweets as well as provide a word cloud and list of popular subtopics. Here is a screen shot:

The main drawback I had with Twendz is that its results include tweets from all languages. However, I did stumble on a few tweets that provided reliable links for non-bias information. One in particular is the third one down on the screen shot from @nickc3. I viewed the tweet and clicked the link that brought me to a Banyan Branch blog. The info graphics showed that both Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure saw a striking increase in Twitter mentions after the controversy rose but Komen was the focal point with a 62%/38% ratio in tweet mentions. The conversation hit its all-time high with 159,999 tweets when Komen made its announcement to overturn its decision while at the same time notable resignations from the organization were making news. What I found to be the most surprising from the blog is the news that Planned Parenthood actually came out of the controversy with more supporters than ever and in addition to new funding.

Tweefind

What I like about Tweefind is that you are able to filter search results to English tweets only or links only. It also provides links to related searches of the topic so you can expand your search with other popular keywords. Here is a screen shot:

The only advice I have for new users of Tweefind is to search for information using several alternative keywords to find the best results. I was able to find a link to a Huffington Post article about democratic senators launching “One Million Strong for Women” campaign that would be vital to include for a follow-up story.

Twazzup

Twazzup has actually become my favorite search application so far. It’s interface is my favorite because it’s dashboard of real-time stream of twitter updates, highlighted tweets, a list of top influencers; recent-related news stories, photos, and links that users are tweeting and retweeting about the searched topic. It also lists related hashtags, keywords, and top retweeted tweeters to the searched topic. I searched “Susan G. Koman AND Planned Parenthood. Here is a screen shot:

I utilized this search service last and discovered all of  the  round-up information I found for the Komen and Planned Parenthood story could be found using Twazzup’s dashboard features. The only issue here is there are too many broad results instead of the best results.

If you haven’t used one of these Twitter search applications I urge you to take a few minutes on each one and navigate through the process to see what’s being said right now and most importantly, to find see if some of these search apps work for you . If there are any other search applications you find more helpful please comment and share them below.

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