E-reputation toolkit: Social Web Metasearch

First Pubished at 2bloggen

The Socal Web is fantastic if it is built on top of social relations in the real world. Somebody discribed it ironically: “Twitter is for the friends you want to have while Facebook is for the friends you have had.” I have no experience with Twitter, but research demonstrated that  Twitter is not a social network. About Facebook, Myspace… and alike, I can be positive, they are an extra channel for multimedia exchange. For some social Webs are the photo-book we had before… for the activists it’s the place where they launche petitions.

A few years ago there was much ado about the long tail, a statistic concept from consumer demographics to describe the niche strategy of businesses, such as Amazon.com or Netflix, that sell a large number of unique items, each in relatively small quantities. A frequency distribution with a long tail has been studied by statisticians since at least 1946. The distribution and inventory costs of these businesses allow them to realize significant profit out of selling small volumes of hard-to-find items to many customers, instead of only selling large volumes of a reduced number of popular items. The group that purchases a large number of “non-hit” items is the demographic called the Long Tail.

The Long Tail might be valid for sites like Amazon and Ebay, it doesn’t work in social networking. After all social relations are not built on consumer demographics. Maybe the popularity of politicians might work this way, but in politics today, nobody has real friends. So?  A study of Youtube showed that the long tail doesn’t work on the social web. The popularity of videos on Yuotube follows rather the  blockbuster model. Based on the viewing habits of people I know that go to YouTube, this makes sense.  Many simply check out whatever is most popular, which becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.  Desaster tourism works the same way, people slowing down on the highway if there has been an accident. So, beware! It is passing. Once the mess is cleaned, nobody will be looking any longer.

In the real world ‘trust building’ gives stable results when one invests time, while a reputation is shallow and passing. Trust building’ is a process that takes time. One has to give evidence of this truthfulness and trustworthiness, it’s about quality. But on Internet things seem to be different. PR based reputation building seems to work all the time. It suffices to get in the picture without getting in jail and that’s about it.  But keep in mind, it’s about quantity and a self-perpetuating cycle, not about quality.

The tools I list here cost nothing. Look at them, but if you use them, keep in mind that long standing relations are built on trust not on reputation and that relations in the real world are not interchangeable.

Social Metasearch : They let you look different sources like social networks, blogs micro-blogs etc.

Whostalkin to follow those who talk about you on the Web

Samepoint Social Media search, Samepoint is a conversation search engine that lets you see what people are talking about. You can discover, learn and share new web sites and ideas. Seaches in blogs, comments, forums, micro-blogs, news, pictures and videos.

Socialmention close to Samepoint but gives a neater result since it orders the results by source. It also searches in  bookmarks.

Serph anohter meta-engine but less performing

Icerocket BigBuzz Meta-engine of Web 2.0. Searches blogs, twitter, news and micro-blogs ‘en plus’ adds an RSS feed of the results.

Blog search Engines : These I have tested a little bit, being a blogger myself. I used the string ‘Galese and Rizzolatti’, because that string is in 2 of my postings from the day before, and it is rather rare. I was curious if they would  find my postings.

  • Google Blog Search This is the typical Google interface for blogs.  All options available for website search are also available for blog search. It found one of my postings and also another one with ‘Galese and Rizzolati in it’: Posts about Web Standards as of March 18, 2009 To my surprise it was pointing to my posting. Google does’nt offer tag-search, only text search. That’s what Google is all about. Google offers Atom and RSS feeds of it’s results. That’s OK.
  • Technorati is the professional search engine for blogs. It lets you searchs to blogposts on text and tags.  I use is often. It’s all there: Booleans, url-search, tag-search, RSS.  But the interface isn’t userfriendly. To my surprise it did only find one of the two postings but it also found 2 mentions of it in Delicious, both pointing to the other posting. I suppose it eliminates doubles. Nothing to worry about I hope.
  • Icerocket The advanced section allows booleans, lets you look for strings, select on date. RSS also. It let’s you search in title, authors list, and tags. In fact Icerocket has more options then Technorati. And it’s indexes are complete also. It did find both postings. That was nice.
  • Blogpulse: Sophisticated. The advanced section allows booleans, lets you look for strings,  select on date. You can track conversations and view the blog profiles. Lets you also search to blogs that link to your blog.  RSS channel also available. But it didn’t find my posting.  That was bad. I presume its indexes are rather limited.

News Search

Tools to follow comments.

  • Backtype indexes mainly blogspot blogs. You can receive RSS feeds and mail alerts.
  • coComment looks for comments at a predefined source address.
  • Yacktrack has Friendfeed, Digg et WordPress in its index.

Tools to follow forums

Tools to follow micro-blogs

Integrated sources

Links to Wikipedia: Web 2.0, Social Web, Internet, Communication, Social Network, Search Engines

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