Today, searching through social media sites is much like the days of searching the Web before the advent of Google. Many of us are performing a series of loosely associated searches, and then aggregating them to try to get a glimpse of the bigger picture. To get a good cross-section of the conversation, we're running searches on Twitter and Ice Rocket, creating any number of Google Alerts, and building Yahoo! Pipes to sift through all the sources of information.
The perfect solution isn't there yet. And while no one has truly nailed "social media search," WhosTalkin is definitely a step in the right direction.
WhosTalkin, a social media search engine that recently came out of private beta, provides a simple interface that allows users to search a number of popular blogs and microblogging platforms, news aggregators, networks, video services, images, forums, and popular bookmarking and tagging services. Search results generally provide a decent overview of "who's saying what" about the particular search term, and WhosTalkin does a good job of crawling through a number of services in one fell swoop. Which is good.
The problem is that social media is far more dynamic than the Web of yesteryear. And, unfortunately, WhosTalkin is only good for searching while you're on the site. None of the pages are URL addressable - meaning you can't save or bookmark searches that you perform on a regular basis. Also disconcerting is the fact that there is no obvious RSS feed or alert mechanism to ping users when new results are found. And since the pages aren't URL addressable, it's impossible to run a service like Dapper against them to create your own RSS feeds.
[Update] We're receiving some additional feedback in the comments below. Apparently, the pages are URL addressable, but that option isn't exposed by default.
That said, WhosTalkin is still useful, to a point. I'm still interested in using the service for research purposes or to gauge the current outlook on a particular topic. That has some value. But, it's easy to envision how much more compelling the service could become with some additional features. To become a truly valuable service, WhosTalkin is going to have to incorporate features that allow for the tracking of searches on an ongoing basis.
If you're looking for a quick glimpse at what's happening in social media - right at this very moment - or are interested in performing some one-off searches, WhosTalkin provides a great vantage on the current pulse of what's happening. It's a good first step in social media metasearch. But we remain hopeful that the service continues to add features that make it more useful for ongoing tracking of social media topics and trends.
To try the service and see what people are saying right at this moment - like the current opinion on this service or this post - visit WhosTalkin.