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By B.L. Ochman
Trying not to drown in the fire hose of information, research is king, content is queen and context is key in my life. I start every project, every post, and all my shopping with search of one type or another. Trust me when I tell you that I totally lack the technical gene, so you know that none of these are complicated to use.
media_firehose.pngHere are some of the tools and apps I like for social media search. Got others?

    • Twitseek: enter a URL, hashtag or keyword and it finds Tweets related to them
  • Hashtags Tracker tracks #hastags and also trends each one and shows you most popular ones
  • Poll Everywhere lets you poll by SMS, Twitter or the Web in real-time. It replaces clunky audience response hardware at events and lets people use their phones to respond.
  • Kikin kills me! It augments Google searches with relevant information from my social media contacts. So, if I’m shopping, I can get opinions, prices, see reviews and more, without ever leaving the product page. There’s a good review on Techcrunch.
  • Tweetscan Twitter search tool that updates every second and will send you emails when your keywords are mentioned, or let you back up your Twitter stream, which Twitter purges regularly
  • Twitscoop searches and tracks search terms, can create a graph of results if there’s enough data. It’ll show the trend for your keyword activity/popularity
  • Tweepsearch twitter profile and bio search by keywords
  • Twitstat searches and also shows search trends
  • Twitter Search (formerly Summize) isTwitter’s own search engine, and the advanced version is very robust
  • Backtweets : enter a URL and it finds Tweets that linked to it.
  • Mr. Tweet recommends people to follow, communities to join, communities your friends and followers are in, and hot topics in communities.
  • Tweetmi displays the most active Twitterers and top stories from the people you follow. So it’s a personalized aggregation of your feed, displaying the the real-time conversation.
  • One Riot is a real-time search engine that crawls the links people share on Twitter, Digg and other social sharing services, matches them to trending topics on Twitter or ones you search.
  • Collecta does a real-time meta search on topics you choose, and, unlike most other search tools, saves your searches for future use.

The future of search is the semantic web, and Facebook and Google are in a race to create the best search vehicle to enable engines to understand and relate the words and pictures and objects on a page rather than just build an index of words. “AND,” says Stephan Weiss of Facebook, “it will enable us to better understand the questions you’re asking.” While Google Buzz‘ complex interface has made it largely a failure, Facebook’s controversial new Social Graph is thought by many observers to be a successful enactment of the semantic web.
Google Goggles, available (for now) only for Android phones, is major step in the right direction. It lets you search Google using pictures from your camera phone, returning relevant results from the photos.
The semantic web was part of Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s original vision of the web when he invented it back in 1989. We’re not there yet, but we will be soon.
Bonus Link: Drinking from the media firehose: news is right now, the rest is history
Image:By the always-fabulous Drue Kataoka at ValleyZen