May 312009
 

While the Twitter vs. Google debates rage on, a group of 42 mice have combined the best of both worlds and created a new search engine called Topsy. Type a couple of words into Topsy and it will return a list of web pages ranked by how many times they were linked to on Twitter, and who did the linking.

I’ll point you over to TechCrunch for details about Topsy. Let’s dive right into how it can help you find Twitter users to follow, based on their proclivity to share links related to the topic you cover.

Let’s say you report on health issues and are working on a story about gastric bypass surgery. Here are Topsy’s results for “gastric bypass.”

Topsy results for gastric bypass

Each result shows what Topsy believes to be the title of the page, its web address, the number of times it has been linked to from Twitter, and a sample of those tweets.

Top Twitter gastric bypass authorsBut enough about the search results. I’ll leave that review to other bloggers.

Focus your attention to the list of “top authors” on the right side of the results page. It shows Twitter users who have linked to pages about gastric bypass.

That list includes people who claim (on their Twitter pages) to be a personal fitness trainer, a fitness blog, a health and diet advocate, and even a company that “pioneered cosmetic tourism.” And most of them frequently tweet about fitness and health issues.

If health or fitness is your beat, you should follow these people. Don’t follow blindly, though. Review each person’s Twitter stream and only add people whose tweet are on point.

For finding links, the people on that list are probably more useful “friends” than the five people who tagged themselves with #gastricbypass on WeFollow. And it was quicker and easier to find them than searching through the 320 users listed in Just Tweet It’s health & wellness directory.

Twitter directories serve their purpose, to find people who tweet about a certain topic. But if you are looking for people who frequently share links  related to a particular subject, Topsy can be a great place to start.

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