How-To: Search the Social Web – Ultimate Toolkit

by Robin Broitman

How-To: Search the Social Web - Ultimate Toolkit

Social media has created an explosion of information online.  People are writing on blogs, tweeting, bookmarking, sharing, commenting, etc.

You no doubt want to tap into this wealth of information and learn what people are saying about you, your business, your competitors and the topics you’re interested in.

The challenge is: how to find, filter and process the information you need – the information that will help you do what you want to do.

I touched on the topic of social media monitoring (also known as buzz monitoring) in my Superlist of Social Media Metrics.  Here I’ve gathered a more comprehensive guide to a wide range of resources, websites, services and advice that will help you find, filter, and monitor the information you need more effectively.

Happy Searching!!

Social Search Engines That Search Across Multiple Social Media Sites

  • Addictomatic
    Addictomatic searches a wide range of live sites including blogs, micro-blogs, news and video. Search results are displayed in your own custom page.  While you can’t get an RSS feed of your search, you can bookmark it.
  • monitorThis
    With MonitorThis you can search in 26 different search engine feeds at the same time including blogs, microblogs and more.
  • Samepoint
    Samepoint is a conversation search engine that lets you see what people are talking about. It categorizes Social Mentions, Discussion Points, Bookmarks, Wikis, Network,s B2B Networks, Groups, Life Casting, MicroBlogs, Reviews, Podcasts, Documents, Video, Images, News and Web. There are tabs that let you drill down to results for each category.
  • Social Mention
    Social Mention is a social media search engine that searches user-generated content such as blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, videos, and microblogging services.
  • WhosTalkin?
    WhosTalking is a social media search tool that allows users to search for conversations on multiple social media sites surrounding the topics that they care about most.
  • Nsyght
    nsyght is a social search engine powered by you, your bookmarks, and your friends
  • Pipes: Social Media Firehose
    This is a social media search for tracking brand or product mentions on a slew of social media sites, including flickr, twitter, friendfeed, digg etc. It taps into their search APIs directly, so it’s much more immediate and comprehensive than say, Google alerts.
  • Scour
    Scour is a next generation search engine with Google/Yahoo/MSN results and user comments all on one page. Users get rewarded for using it by collecting points with every search, comment and vote. The points are redeemable for Visa gift cards.
  • – Find the Pulse of the Web
    OneRiot is a social search engine that indexes web pages based on their current popularity with its users, thus focusing on newest and most popular results for a search query rather than a comprehensive overview of the archived web. The ranking is based on input from OneRiot users who have installed the company’s browser extension called the “PulseChecker.”
  • Delver – Search Your World
    Delver is an intelligent social search engine that enables you to find, experience and benefit from the wealth of information created and referenced by your own social world.
  • Serph — Track buzz in real time.
    Serph is a search engine that you can use to find out what people are saying on the web right now across various sites including: Technorati, Digg, YouTube, Flickr, Google Blog Search, Bloglines, and Newsvine.
  • Keotag
    Search engine that allows you to search various social media sites (delicious, facebook, twitter, etc) by tags.
  • Aardvark
    Aardvark dubbed by CNET as “social search meets instant messaging.” You send a query to Aardvark via your instant-messenger client. The system determines which people in your network (friends and friends of friends) might be able to answer your question, sends them messages, and then forwards you their replies.
  • What Is Real Time Search? Definitions & Players
    From Search Engine Land: There seems to be no end to companies saying they offer real time search these days. And no end to people quoting how Google itself says it wants to improve in the area. But what does real time search really mean? This article offers some definitions and focuses on players in the space.
  • Collecta
    The web is alive with real-time information. So why search a stale archive? Collecta monitors the update streams of news sites, popular blogs and social media, and Flickr, so we can show you results as they happen. Give it a try. Click here to return to your running search(es).
  • SearchMerge: Real-Time Social Search With a Splash of Google
    From Mashable: Review of SearchMerge, tool that allows you so search multiple websites such as Google (Google reviews), Twitter (Twitter reviews), FriendFeed (FriendFeed reviews), Flickr (Flickr reviews) and YouTube (YouTube reviews) all at once with some cool enhancements include the real-time refresh of SearchMerge results and the timeline view.

Finding Information on Blogs

Searching on Twitter, Microblogs and Lifestreaming Services

  • Twingly Microblog Search
    Searches microblogs like Twitter, Jaiku, Identica and more.
  • Advice on Searching Twitter:
    • Learn How to Search Twitter
      From Twitip: Great article on how to search for useful information on Twitter.
    • How To Power Up Your Twitter Search Techniques
      From Twitter Power System: Techniques for harnessing the power of Twitter search.
    • Ultimate Guide to Twitter Hashtags
      From Search Engine Journal: A hashtag is a way to unite global Tweets around some particular topic. Hashtags can help you share and find content around specific topics. Here Ann Smarty provides some tips and resources for making the most of them.
    • Twitter: The Real-Time Answer Engine
      From Twitips: Advice on leveraging Twitter’s real time capability to use it as a ‘help engine’ for getting answers to questions.
    • Take Advantage of Twitter Search Operators
      From Web Worker Daily: Dawn Foster takes a look at the standard operators, with a focus on uses for some very interesting operators that let you filter searches based on location, attitude, posts with links, dates and more, along with some limitations and cautions for each one.
  • Twitter Search Tools
    • Advanced Twitter Search
      Advanced Twitter search form allows you to construct a more detailed search query.
    • Twitter Search Operators
      Rundown of search operators that can be used to make your Twitter searches more targeted to your needs.
    • 12 Twitter Directories – Find People & Companies on Twitter
      From Online Marketing Blog: Resources for finding Twitter accounts for brands, companies, executives, analysts and journalists via directories and lists.
    • 6 Twitter Search Services Compared
      From Mashable: Ari Herzog compares six top Twitter search options including their interfaces, their options and the similarity of their results.
    • 8 Excellent Tools to Extract Insights from Twitter Streams
      From Social Media Today: Yung-Hui Lim provides a rundown of Twitter analytic tools that allow you to gain insights from Twitter posts.
    • Tweetscan
      A microblog search tool that searches Twitter and other microblogging sites.  You can set up RSS feeds, email alerts and more.
    • Tweetizen
      Tweetizen is a simple web-based tool designed to help you filter the daily influx of tweets, and easily find the ones that are relevant to you. You can filter them by your interests (tags) or by specific groups of people.
    • The Twitalyzer for Tracking Influence and Measuring Success in Twitter
      Twitalyzer is a unique tool to evaluate the activity of any Twitter user and report on relative influence, signal-to-noise ratio, generosity, velocity, clout, and other useful measures of success in social media.
    • Twilert
      Twilert is a Twitter application that lets you receive regular email updates of tweets containing your brand, product, service, well any keyword you like really.
    • Twist
      Twist is a tool that allows you to track trends on Twitter, similarly to what Google Trends does for Google searches. It gathers tweets as they are posted, filters redundant ones and compiles the rest into two-hour intervals.
      Hashtags was designed to accommodate the real-time news community. We provide analytic reports and indexing features to allow users to track what’s happening now. Hashtags are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. They’re like tags on Flickr, only added inline to your post. You create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol: #hashtag.
    • Tagalus
      A dictionary for hashtags: Ever find yourself looking at Twitter and wondering what all this talk about #motrinmoms means? Searching Flickr and not understanding why someone would tag their photo #ip4? Tagalus helps you get definitions for specific hashtags.
    • MicroPlaza
      MicroPlaza looks at your Twitter network and displays all the links shared by the people you follow with associated tweets. It’s a way to discover relevant and interesting items from the people you follow on Twitter. Billed as your “personal micro-news agency”.
    • BackTweets
      Nice twitter tool that lets you enter in a domain and see all tweets that link to articles on the domain even if people have used short url tools to link to the domain.
  • How to Use the New FriendFeed Search for Social Media Intelligence
    From ReadWriteWeb: Review the new Friendfeed tool and provides examples of how the tool can be used to discover people, conversations, trends and more across the social web.
  • FriendFeed Search
    Advanced Search page of Friendfeed – a service that lets users aggregate all of their social accounts including Delicious, Twitter, blog, and other social media accounts and pull them together into a single feed.  The advanced search features lets you search through posts, comments and other shared information using advanced search operators. You can set parameters to search for posts that were liked by specific number of other users or those that have a certain number of comments.  You can even search for entries from a specific user’s friends.
  • FriendFeed Search: Filtering for Popularity and Relevance
    From Web Worker Daily: Advice from Dawn Foster on using Friendfeed’s advanced search features.

Message Boards and Forum Search Tools

    A forum search engine, message tracking and instant alerts system designed to provide relevant information quickly and efficiently while ensuring you never miss an important forum thread no matter where or when it is posted.
  • Omgili
    Omgili is a specialized search engine that focuses on “many to many” user generated content platforms, such as, Forums, Discussion groups, Mailing lists, answer boards and others. Also offered is a real time search feature called Omgili Stream which provides a real-time feed of discussions taking place in thousands of forums and other discussion-based platforms.

Conversations and Comments Search Tools

  • Artiklz
    A conversation search engine that aggregates discussions and comments from many popular blogging and commenting platforms along with a number of services including Digg, Reddit, FriendFeed, Delicious, etc. and makes them available through a single search engine.
  • coComment – Join the conversation
    coComment is a service for managing, powering and researching conversations online. When using coComment, you can keep track of your comments across any site, share them with friends, and get notified when you get a response.
  • BackType
    BackType is a service that lets you find, follow and share comments from across the web.
  • Comments Tool : Commentful
    Commentful is a service that watches comments/follow-ups on Blog posts, Digg submissions, Flickr galleries, and many other types of content. When ever there is an update, i.e a new follow-up, Commentful notifies you instantly. To use Commentful, either login or register(it’s free!)
  • ConvoTrack: Track Conversations Surrounding Any Blog Post
    From Make Use Of: Discussion of ConvoTrack, a comment aggregation app that lets you easily track comments and conversations surrounding any blog article. It shows comments from Twitter, FriendFeed, Digg, Reddit, HackerNews and blogs. Easy bookmarklet you can drag to your browser toolbar.
  • Talk Digger
    Tool that helps you find, follow and join conversations across the web.
  • 13 Tools For Tracking Discussions in the Blogosphere
    From Mashable: Sean P. Aune has gathered together 13 trackers on a number of subjects for you to check out.

Finding Information on Social News, Bookmarking and Other Social Media Sites

  • The Several Habits of Wildly Successful Users
    From Slacker Manager: Helpful advice for making the most of social bookmarking site Delicious.
  • 6 Ways To Make Life Easier With
    From Dave Fleet: More great advice on using the social bookmarking site Delicious more effectively.
  • Diigo
    A research and collaborative research tool on the one hand and a knowledge-sharing community and social content site on the other. Similar to Delicious, but also allows you to highlight web pages, add sticky notes and keep bookmarks in other bookmarking sites up to date.
  • Digg Search
    Digg’s advanced search allows you to search for stories other users have liked by title, description, and/or url. You can search for all stories, recently submitted stories and stories which have appeared on the front page (most popular).
  • Digg Search Tools Review of Digg tools (e.g. buttons, toolbars, bookmarklets that let you search Digg stories.
  • Search Digg With Google
    Digg Search is a very optimized search engine powered by google allowing you to search efficiently through Digg
  • – find similar sites
    Type in a url for a website or article that you like and this site will find other websites you might like based on people’s tags/bookmarks on
  • delizzy – Bookmarks Search Engine is a great service, but when you search through your bookmarks, you are only searching through tags, titles and descriptions, not the page content. del.izzy lets you search through all content, including title, description and page content, for all your bookmarks.
  • 50 | Home
    Only crawls web sites that were bookmarked or voted for by people, in sites like, digg and reddit. They link to sites with the best content, and it gives you the best quality search engine on the web. You can also call it Social Powered Search.
  • Facebook Search Tips
    Advice from Facebook’s help pages on searching for people and their content
  • For a broader overview of social bookmarketing and news see our introductory post: Social News and Bookmarketing 101.
  • Wikirank: Find What’s Trending on Wikipedia
    From Mashable: Overview of Wikirank, a nifty analytics tool that tracks trending topics on the world’s largest online encyclopedia, displays the 10 most read articles in the last 30 days, and gives users the ability to compare stats for up to four different topics.
  • Facebook Search Tips
    Advice from Facebook’s help pages on searching for people and their content.
  • Craiglook: Better Local Search For Craigslist
    From Make Use Of: Craiglook is a mash up which combines Yahoo Pipes and Google Maps to create better Craigslist search engine which restricts its search to listings related to the area you specify. You can enter your city or a zip code and then specify a mile radius using a horizontal slider on the site. Then you could choose the categories or search for the product or the service you are looking for.
  • The Most Useful StumbleUpon Feature You May Not Have Known
    From Blogging Bits: Hidden in the obscure StumbleUpon toolbar settings is thes search feature – here’s the scoop on how to access it.

Brand Monitoring Tools and Techniques

Managing Your Search Information: Advice on Aggregation & Filtering

  • HOW TO: Use Google Reader Like A Rockstar
    From Mashable: Quick how-to guide for using Google’s popular RSS reader- Google Reader.  For more information on RSS readers and using RSS readers to manage information online see our introductory post:  RSS 101.
  • How to Track 500 Business Blogs in 10 Minutes a Day
    From Mashable: Listening is an important part of developing your social media strategy. This helpful post by Aaron Uhrmacher (my fellow alum from NYU’s Interactive Telecom Grad program) – a simple guide to maximize the number of conversations that you can listen to using the smallest amount of company time.
  • More Efficient RSS Reading
    From Web Worker Daily: The harsh reality is that there are only so many hours in the day one can spend reading and learning. Here are some tips for using your RSS reader more productively.
  • How to Build a Reputation Monitoring Dashboard
    From aimClear Blog: An essential aspect of any reputation management job, is monitoring the never-ending flow of content germane to our client. Most often the keyword monitoring “Big List” includes brand, products, C-level executive names, intent phrases and competitors’ keyword permutations. This post is a guerrilla tutorial for building a totally free reputation monitoring dashboard.
  • How to: Build a Social Media Cheat Sheet for Any Topic
    From ReadWriteWeb: Step-by-step instructions, with screen shots, for a process to get up to speed on the social media activity in your field or market as fast as you can
  • A Quick ‘n Dirty Guide to Setting up Social Media Monitoring
    From Social Media Explorer: A quick and dirty guide to setting up basic social media monitoring, using free tools and only a half hour or less per day.

Finding People On the Social Web

  • Finally, there may be times when you want to get information about people on the social web.  Perhaps you’re looking to get the profile of someone who’s commenting on a blog.  Maybe you’d like to identify influential bloggers in your area of interest.  Perhaps you want to grow your social network.  Check out my post Ultimate How-To Grow Your Social Network for a comprehensive collection of tips and tools to help you find and connect with people online.

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