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Topsy: a game changer for search, e-reputation, & data analysis

I love searching Twitter.

And I love sharing how a Twitter search can dramatically impact student research, by connecting them with experts, encouraging them to develop current awareness, allowing them to listen in on the dialog of a particular field or niche, and, in some cases, enabling them to contribute to the conversation.

Learning to search social media is the new learning to search. (See my earlier post on curation as the new search.)

I regularly use Twitter’s own search as well as TweetDeck and Kred (once I am logged in) to scan and search the hashtags and keywords.

But, Topsy is a game changer.

The free comprehensive index and social analysis tool, searches keywords, hashtags and @ signs from minutes ago or from across a span of years, retrieving your social needles from millions of haystacks of billions of tweets.

Topsy is a way to instantly discover breaking news and just released press-releases and track current conversations and just posted media.

#tlchat influencers

Topsy also presents proof that what you tweet is not ephemeral.  Recently, the San Francisco start-up announced that it has indexed every little message, with every little link, since the very first tweet was tweeted back in 2006.  So I may just use this in my e-reputation talk during our  Juniors’ college search lesson.

The opening screen allows search by

A pull-down menu allows users to sort results by relevance or by most or least recent.  Filters on the left panel allow searchers to select time frames, media, links, and to search tweets in ten languages.  Searchers may also choose to add the influencers filter to a search, perhaps as they attempt to assess credibility.

#syria current awareness


left search panel

Topsy’s relevance algorithm consider retweets and the past influence of the tweeter.

Clicking on the little graph sharing the volume of tweets over the past 30 days, reveals a larger interactive graphic with more granular analytics and links to specific tweets.

And, if you are logged on, you can retweet, reply and favorite without leaving the Topsy interface.

Premium tools, aimed at folks in business, marketing, politics, journalism, and deeper research are available.

But for K12, the basic search alone is a search game changer.

Topsy can be used to discuss data with kids.

The folks at Topsy powered the Twitter Political Index that tracked 2012 voter sentiment and the Twitter Oscars Index, that tried to predict the 2012 Academy Award winners based on tweets.

The Topsy Blog features interesting data-rich stories like a this one on whether social sentiment might predict the success of the new iPhone and this recent Fashion Week post, pointing to the breaking importance of white, red, nail art, crop tops, rocker chic, and beading.



Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Thank you so much for sharing. Twitter and its widgets are all blocked at my school, but Topsy is not (at least not yet). It’s great to have access and to be able to search Twitter so effectively.


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