Create groupings and search the Twitterverse for information!
I started experimenting with the Terraminds Twitter search API last night and wired it into iTweet, my Twitter UI. Originally my intent had been to add the capability of searching #hashtags, as a way of better indexing my own tweets. After I spent a while with it and I was happy with the tagging implementation, I realized that I could also add a simple search box to the interface and it would be useful on a different level.
Now you can do a quick search to mine the Twitterverse for anything you want, in the same place you do your Twittering from. Enjoy.
You can also embed groupings into your Twitterstream by employing the use of #hashtags. These links will appear in green, and clicking them will lead you to a search page for that term. iTweet also "cleans" the pound sign from your search tag to make a nicer-looking, easier to read Tweet. (But yes, it still counts in your allotted total of 140 characters.) Easy, right?
What's the big difference between the two methods (tagging and searching)? The system of tagging is a more specific way of tracking and contextualizing conversations on Twitter; people are embedding the tags purposefully, to create ad hoc channels or groupings. What TerraMinds does is different, it's a generalized search engine for the Twitter service. You can read more about #hashtags in my blog and at the Twitter Fan Wiki. Stowe Boyd and Chris Messina were early proponents of the idea and they have written about it at length as well.
Hashtags.org also has a great service for employing hashtags. Why am I using Terraminds for #hashtags then? Users must be following the @hashtags Twitter user in order to have their tweets scanned and registered by the hashtags.org service. At the time of this writing there are only about 620 users following @hashtags, so IMO this service doesn't really permeate the Twitterverse enough to establish ubiquity (yet). For this reason, I recommend following @hashtags on Twitter. I would prefer to use the hashtags.org service until Twitter adds this feature natively; unfortunately at this time I don't feel like hashtags.org is widespread enough to add it to iTweet without confusing a ton of people. (I also do not know if they support 3rd-party services via an API.)
The development of iTweet has been very fun due to feedback from you, the users...so let me know what you think. Get in there and try to break that sucker, as I know you will. ;)
Leave comments on this blog, or let's talk on Twitter or Facebook.
Cross-pollinate social networks? Sure! Join the iTweet Facebook group.
Note: iTweet.net's browser interface currently works great in Firefox and Safari. I will debug it for the evil Internet Explorer as soon as possible. I will also be adding the search and tagging functions to the iPhone version as soon as possible.
Tags: iTweet, twitter, hashtags, search, terraminds, tagging, webdev, social+media