Image via CrunchBase
It has been quite some time since I talked about Twitter for research in the Studio. This article by Ben Parr at Mashable reminded me that I should revisit the research value amid the scores of 140 or less blips marching through the firehose at Star Wars-speed (couldn’t resist the “May” the “4th” be with you reference).
Why Twitter for research? Part of our thirst for knowledge is to get the goods faster and there is no place like the real-time Web to quench that thirst. However, there is a downside: you have to wade through quite a bit of muck to find the pearls and unless you trust your source, it is difficult to gauge the veracity of the information. And because there is so much information, it is nearly impossible to synthesize it without some help.
That is where the Mashable article fits in. Mashable lists five tools for aiding this process and organizing vast quantities of information. Tweetstats allows you to graph data about different users’ tweeting and Twitter use. While the Twitter web interface now shows trending topics in the sidebar, Trendrr allows for comparisons between topics with graphing features. Tweetmeme offers the ability to compile research on retweeting and link-sharing behavior stats. WeFollow and Twellow are twitter directories that break down by categories, hashtags and location. I use WeFollow and like it a lot. Finally, Xefer Twitter Charts uses Yahoo Pipes and Google charts to offer up to the hour graphs of tweets and replies.
These are all great tools for mining the marketing potential of Twitter. As far as Twitter as a news source or replacement for RSS, I am not convinced. I would rather have my news delayed by a few seconds and filtered for value, a/k/a Sky Grid or a trusted blog writer or news source. But as the Twitterverse grows, tools like these will become indispensible for anyone looking to connect, share and promote via Twitter.