Keeping tabs on the transparency movement can seem like an arduous task, but thankfully there are a number of tools that can help you stay on top of the buzz. With the right toolbox, relevant keywords and hashtags, you can easily track down the latest transparency conversations from across the web. Below are five of my favorites.
Google Alerts – this service will alert you, either by email or rss feed, to the most recent content indexed by Google as related to your search. You can also narrow down search results to news, blogs, updates, videos and discussions. This being from Google, it’s quite comprehensive and you’ll find frequent high quality results.
Social Mention – this service is built atop the Yahoo! BOSS platform and tracks multiple areas, from blogs to microblogs to bookmarks, comments and questions, plus search by specific social media site. Social Mention also breaks down sentiment, reach, unique mentions, sources and an array of other meta information related to your term.
Word to the wise: the All search option can bring up an overwhelming amount of results, so I’d suggest narrowing it down to a type of content to avoid giving yourself a headache.
Topsy – while Topsy indexes content beyond Twitter, the service does a fantastic job at indexing tweets. Twitter search results only go back a few days, but Topsy has archived something called the Twitter Firehose (which is now at about 90 million tweets a day). Users can search older tweets by hour, day, week, month and all time. You can also find “experts” related to your keyword, defined by Twitter mentions.
OneRiot – OneRiot was one of the first services to offer real-time Twitter search results and has since gone on to index Digg, MySpace, Facebook and other social media sites.
Cliqset Search – Cliqset recently launched a search platform that live streams results as they come in. At the moment they index Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz and any site added to the main Cliqset site. I have to warn you, it’s quite addicting to watch results come in real-time. You’ll have to peel yourself away.
Radian6 – Radian6 has been called the “Stradivarius Violin of listening tools” by Beth Kanter and while (much like the Stradivarius) it’s not free, it’s quite powerful. With Radian6 you can easily track and engage “in the conversation taking place on blogs, videos, forums, boards, Twitter, Flickr, Google Buzz, LinkedIn, Facebook fan pages, public discussion groups, and mainstream news sites.” You also have access to an array of tools to break down conversations further, measure trending, find hot keywords, search for influencers, measure general sentiment, and so on.
Whether you’re already tracking the latest on open government and transparency or looking to start, any one of these tools would serve you well. I’m sure I’m missing a few, but if you have any recommendations, please leave them in the comments.