The Twittergeist: How Do We Monitor Microblogging?

Until today, I’ve been using a tool called Tweetmeme to check, once or twice a day, what’s being talked about on Twitter. It takes its name from Techmeme, and aspires to be a kind of real-time Google Zeitgeist for Twitter. Today I happened to learn about two more such services, so I thought I’d write up a quick review of all three

It does an okay job. Right now it rightfully (at least as far as I can tell this morning) identifies Twitter Saves Man From Egyptian Justice (as with every tool and site, self-referential stories tend to bubble to the top). However, it mimics the user interface of Twitter itself, which doesn’t seem like the natural way to present this aggregated “what matters” information. Just because it’s about Twitter, it doesn’t have to look like Twitter.

Next up is Buzztter (via a tweet from Robert), which uses a tag cloud model to track what’s big on Twitter. Their logo looks like an unholy union of Flickr and Google. Buzztter seems to think that tweets about the pope are at the top of the list. The Egypt story is nowhere to be seem. I’m not keen on Buzzter, as there’s no indication of relative popularity.

Finally there’s Alpha Twitter (heads up, incoming lawsuit over that name). This seems to be the best of the bunch. It’s stupid-simple, with a ranked list of the top links. You can also view the most popular links for a longer period, including (cue ominous voice) All Time. Thanks to Alpha Twitter, I watched this amusing satire of a Jobsian keynote. Thanks to Andy for the pointer.


  1. I use BeTwitter which is a iGoogle app. It seems to work ok. I just thought it would be easier to use than a stand-alone desktop app when I switch among the various computers I use.

  2. I’ve been using to set up ongoing searches for keywords of stuff I work on. The results come out in RSS, which is essential for me.

  3. It was just two minutes ago that I was reading an article discussing the service provided by Twitter. According to this author, it is generally designed for dishonest people and only a few honest people can benefit from this system and one or two may be trying to use the service to promote their product. As far as I have understood I am not alone in the line of “dishonest” people.

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