Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Let's talk about twXplorer

See how I tried to make it look like my head is connected with that image of a lion-tamer? #nerd

Twitter is a crucial tool in the modern reporter's notebook. Why not order an upgrade?

My favorite new free Twitter tool is twXplorer, which is a much smarter tool for Twitter searches. Here are some of the things twXplorer can do, and tips on how you can use it for your next story.

twXplorer can: 

  • Search a term, and it'll offer you the most common related terms, hashtags and links. This helps you dig deeper. 
  • Search in 12 different languages -- great for bilingual communities like Colorado, and also international reporting. 
  • Save snapshots to return to later. 


Hypothetical scenerio: I am the new beat reporter to cover CSU.
Search term: CSU
twXplorer brings up several recent Tweets with the term CSU, including this one:

Notice how it gives you the option to star or follow this person, too. 
It also provides a list of common related terms and common related hashtags. On the list: 

kappas khaotikkorruption

This curious term has been used 24 times recently in connection with CSU, and it's also hashtagged 24 times, making it the second most popular hashtag related to CSU.

Click on it and it brings up the tweets. Turns out it's a party.

And now twXplorer uses that term as a search filter.

The app also offers several links from Twitter that mention CSU, including a Reporter-Herald article that has been reposted multiple times.

By comparison, here is what happens when you simply search CSU in Twitter's regular search bar: 

  • You get a long stream of posts about CSU. Many are still useful, but they are out of context and don't reflect trends. 
hee hee

  • You also get a lot of junk. The trend filter of twXplorer sifts through the spam and provides more meaning to your search. It's intelligent, quick searching instead of firing a shotgun in the dark and hoping you hit something. 

Looking for more tips on using Twitter in journalism? 

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