Hello from the Web 2.0 Expo in NYC. Yesterday I presented “Best Kept Secrets to SEO Success”, where I shared some of lesser known tricks, tools, and techniques. One of the sessions I attended after mine was finished was “Monitoring Social Media for Fresh, Contemporary and Reliable Sources” presented by Andrew Baron, founder of the popular Rocketboom videoblog/podcast. Andrew shared some of the ways he keeps his ear to the ground on social media to pick up on breaking news before it hits the mainstream media. He uses Search.Twitter.com (formerly Summize) to search for what’s going on at this instant. For example, he was able to find that the line at the Apple Store was around the block, saving himself a trip to the Apple Store (he went later after the line died down). A lot of news breaks on Twitter, so tracking Twitter not just through searching but also by following people and watching their tweets is critical. Andrew pointed out the list of the 100 most followed Twitter users on Twitterholic as notable folks to track. (I also recently discovered Twubble which helps you find new Twitter friends based on your current network of Twitter friends – pretty cool.) Andrew really likes Friendfeed; he referred to it as “Twitter with a real conversation.” The most popular links shared via Friendfeed are on Friendfeed Links. Some of the “most popular” links and “fast movers” across numerous social media are easily tracked in one place using popurls. Wikipedians are frequently first on the scene to provide late-breaking news – scurrying to update the relevant Wikipedia articles as things unfold; these can be tracked with Wikirage. Narrow the results down to within the hour for the really fresh stuff. When there are a lot of recent updates to an article it can indicate something interesting is happening. Andrew provided cautionary tales of the Montauk monster hoax and the Amazon rainforest tribe that was untouched by the outside world that was real, then a hoax, then finally real again to make the point that you have to analyze very critically the validity of any story found on social media. Andrew quoted Paul Virilio, a French philosopher, to make the point that whoever acts on new information first has an advantage. This holds true in many situations – on the battlefield, on Wall Street, and in the Web 2.0 world of startups. So if you have something new, take action before it becomes old.
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