The search engines that we are used to, like Google and Yahoo, rely on spiders crawling through web sites indexing the keywords they find. Therefore, when someone is searching for a certain topic, like “technology,” these search engines will display whatever they found, ranked by popularity on the page. Topsy is different. It’s a people-powered search engine for tweets.
Using the Web Site
When you log in, you will see a search page like you would see for any search engine. It has the current trending topics, if you wanted to check out what is popular on Twitter.
When you search for something, then the search results are shown in the image below. On the left-hand corner, you can decide what timeline you want to choose from. Also, you can select if you want to search the web, photos, or actual tweets. However, viewing the web allows you to view the tweets as well because the listing has the tweet below.
If you decide to log in with your Twitter user ID and password, you will see a home page that shows all of the things that you have posted on social media networks, how many times people have tweeted the same link, and information, like your web site, that Twitter account is associated with.
On March 3rd, Topsy introduced alerts. You can get search results right to your inbox.
Adding a Topsy Button To Your WordPress Site
The Topsy WordPress plugin is easy to install. After installing the plugin, you will go to Settings to customize the button. One thing that I like about Topsy, that I haven’t seen with other retweet buttons is that it gives you a wide range of options on where to display the retweet button. If you don’t want it on all your pages, then you can pick-and-choose which ones you want to place them on. You can also add your own CSS.
I like the fact that you can change the color scheme to fit your site/blog. Also, that if you delete or update your blog, you are able to notify Topsy, and they will be sure to reflect that on their end. Very useful.
The trackback feature is pretty nifty because you can create trackbacks if someone leaves a comment. Not sure if I like this “Only create trackback comments from influential tweeters.” How can they know that? If I have a technology-type site/blog, the people I find influential are going to be different if I had a fashion site/blog. This is what it states on their site: “On our website, roughly the top 0.2% most influential of all Twitter users are tagged “Highly Influential”, and “Influential” tags appear for the top 0.5% most influential Twitter users.” I would love to hear from Topsy creators to figure out their calculation.
Topsy is an interesting search engine and application. I like the layout and the search display on their web site. It’s also great that they have a user profile that allows you to see how your tweets are doing. However, with Google and Yahoo! partnering up with Twitter and having tweets as part of their search results, Topsy has to find a way to keep things interesting. Their WordPress plugin is one of the most flexible ones that I have seen when it comes to retweeting buttons. However, this “influential” tweeter trackback feature kind of threw me off. Overall, Topsy has potential.
Have you used Topsy retweet button on your site?