Friday, April 3, 2009

Turn Twitter into a real-time news aggregator

Today there was a shooting in Binghamton, NY. I found out about it on Twitter via @JasonCalacanis. I was curious to know more about it, so I searched Google News. While I did find some interesting articles, that's only one perspective. What about the people's account and what's on their mind, though? For that, we turn to Twitter.

But then we have a problem. You arrive at search.twitter.com, but the question becomes, "well, what the hell do I search for now? Shooting? Murder? Answer: none of the above. You search for *everything* around the Binghamton, NY area. But how? Not everybody has the werewithal to tag their posts #Binghamton every time they talk about the shooting... and who says that's the right tag to use? In short, it can be hard to find exactly what you're looking for.

The shooting occured in Binghampton, so what we will search for is tweets that happened in or around Binghamton. But how? We use a qualifier. That qualifier is near:

So, a sample search on Twitter might look like this, giving you highly relevant results about the current event:

This is just one way to use search on Twitter. For tons more options, you can build a custom search using the Advanced Search, which you can get to by clicking on the link at the right of the Search button. In the search above, you might also include the following qualifier, filter:links, which again can be found on the Advanced Search page.