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Charting The Real-Time Web
There has been much written about real-time web startups to highlight the multitude of companies and energy that have entered the space. In addition, there has been much talk in regards to the real-time web tools that are available for web developers.
Here's an overview of the real-time web from the user experience perspective through discussing several of the things users can do on the real-time web.
To search the real-time web in its purest form, you can head to Twitter's homepage. On Twitter's homepage, you can enter in whatever you'd like and instantly see the most recent chatter in regards to that topic. The most recent results will be sorted at the top of the search results. If you want to just see the links that are being posted on the real-time web, you can visit Topsy's link search. Topsy will allow you to see the most popular links of the past hour, day, week or year. If you'd like to see both real-time content and links broken out at the same place, my company Sency.com displays this information on its site via its two tabbed result pages.
A lot of times it is interesting to learn which terms on the real-time web are related to a respective term. For example, you may be interested to learn the top 10 terms being used alongside the keyword basketball right now. Tweet Cloud can do this for you if you go to their site and search for a term, you can see the terms most used along side any given keyword in large fonts. You will also notice keywords in smaller font which means they are used alongside the keyword but not as often.
The Latest Trends
One of the great things about the real-time web is to learn what topics are being talked about the most right now. What The Trend is an outstanding resource which not only shows you the hottest trends but also gives you information as to why a trend is hot. Each trend has a description that has been recently written by a user similar to how Wikipedia gets information from users on a variety of topics. Sency has recently published The Top 100 which shows you 100 topics that have been talked about over the past few days.
Retweets became famous on Twitter--as it is the process of taking someone else's Twitter update and posting it to your Twitter page. Daily RT has done at excellent job at summarizing the most popular retweets on the web. The more you get retweeted, the more influence you probably have--and down the right hand side of Daily RT you can see a real-time stream of Tweets posted by the most retweeted users on the web. By viewing only retweets, you are more likely to get quality information as a retweet by a user is similar to having a user vote or vouch for what you said.
The real-time web is new and hot right now. And traditional search engines continue to be very useful for a variety of searches. However, as the web is moving more real-time, with users updating constantly, these real-time tools will help you to utilize the real-time web effectively and efficiently.
Evan Britton founded Sency in 2009. The goal of Sency is to bring real-time content, links, and tools, to internet users in an organized and simple fashion.