Tool of the week: Topsy
What is it? A search engine and analytics for the social web
How is it of use to journalists? Topsy is a really handy search tool for monitoring what is being discussed on the social web.
Search for a keyword or phrase and you will be presented with news articles, tweets, videos and photos. Search results are returned visually, so you can see icons and avatars beside the source.
What is particlularly useful is the ability to see how frequently a term is being used. For example, a search for “Knox” will return Twitter mentions, articles and videos. You can also click on “experts” to see what recognised news providers have published.
A search for “phone hacking” returns results and also shows the number of times the keyword has been used in the last hour, day, week, month and all time. You can also get these results shown on a graph, create and email alert or set up an RSS feed from a keyword.
You can carry out advanced searches, enabling you to include or exclude additional terms, languages and set a date range or drill down and search for a keyword used by a particular Twitter user.
As a journalist you can not only use Topsy to help you locate sources and monitor rumours (such as team talk by football fans), you can use it to add colour to an article or feature.
For example, you can use Topsy to tell you that interest in the “Amanda Knox” case has been such that her name has been mentioned 516 mentions in the last hour (the search was carried out at 4.30pm on Monday, 3 October), 3,804 times in the past day and 16,000 times overall.