Bulletin: Search goes narrow, topical and coversational

The great thing about networks is you find out about things you would never know anything about and Twing is one of those things. I tooled on over and gave it a try based on a link from someone. Initially I wasn’t too impressed with the functionality, but I am VERY impressed at the conversation I had with Kevin Shea, the GM @ Twing. It started with the brief comment below:

By Kevin on Mar 11, 2008 |

Try your Twing search again under “post” search, which has much better results:

http://twing.com/search?sc=ps&qt=widespread+panic

Your original query was a “topic” search.

And yes, we will keep the crawlers humming :-)

Kevin

So not only did Kevin respond, he was kind enough to A) confirm the stuff is earlier stage B) informed me that there was a little bit of “stupid” user in the process, me and C) started a conversation which asked for input and feedback. As an aside, Kevin is also very good at using his blackberry with near real-time response, even though he was a little under the weather, but that also is a sign of his passion in improving search. So with several emails and encouragement to provide feedback, I went and registered.

So I spent more time on the site and there is 1 feature set that once it is all “crawled” out should be REALLY useful – community buzz. The Community Buzz page has some interesting tools. Tags, posts and linked content which is being searched on and posted on @ bulletin boards. I would have never thought Montauk Fishing was so popular, but I also wouldn’t have thought Aaron’s North Georgia Trout online was one of the largest such community on the planet. So now I have my use case – I did a search on NGTO to see how it worked and it returned meaningful content on NGTO.

So the biggest challenge is how can WE help these folks out? Let’s all use the tool and provide feedback, but before we do that, let’s understand what the intent and purpose of Twing is, in Kevin’s words:

  1. Build awareness about the growing value (and volume) of forum discussion content. We feel this is an under served emerging market that is seeking a true leader.
  2. Enhance the search user’s experience by giving them access to forums across multiple taxonomic categories.

Conversational search will be an increasing important tool for business, more so than individuals I think, so my recommendation is move the tool to have alerts for marketers and product managers. This will also have significant use for technologists, as people and business users, to solve issues. To that end, perhaps a new tab which is focused on support forums, this would help folks find information on software or hardware support issues.

For personal users, I might add just a little more granularity to the first level of the directory and group the content into “smaller” boxes which may have less content, but doesn’t fall below “the fold”. I’ve always wanted a dynamic directory of forums and this looks like it could be one of the largest out there, I looked around and I think that’s a true statement. Bulletin boards have always been an example of niche communities that rarely are found by accident, typically someone in the know pointed you there. With Twing you can join the conversation a good deal easier without being part of the cool kid group.

Search is rapidly moving from shotgun approaches and brute force solutions to deliver results in context of a content type. Few things are as hidden on the web as the conversations on bulletin boards and a narrow search tool can “turn up the volume” on these conversations for more folks to participate in and drive value from. The platform provides personalized views, once registered, which could be useful for businesses and individuals alike to stay on top of areas of interest, brand feedback and competitive intelligence. I agree with Kevin that their are “millions” of folks which could find utility from this solution – let’s help them find Twing.

Kevin’s outreach is a great example of how companies can leverage social media for input and to understand how to improve what they are delivering to the marketplace. I’m glad I was able to virtually meet Kevin and get the low down on Twing. Give it a try and let them know what you think because they are listening.

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5 Comments

  • Reply jon gatrell March 15, 2008 at 7:23 am

    Blog: Bulletin: Search goes narrow, topical and coversational: The great thing about networks is y.. http://tinyurl.com/yvr929

  • Reply Pal March 16, 2008 at 8:52 am

    Nice post – thank you for another cool search engine. I think I will stick with Omgili

    Discussions Search: http://www.omgili.com

    Omgili Buzz – http://buzz.omgili.com

    Omgili Reviews – http://reviews.omgili.com

    😉

  • Reply J G March 16, 2008 at 9:04 am

    clearly on the verge of spam, but since I’m an equal opportunity blogger it stays. but by your winky emoticon, I think you know this already.

    😉

  • Reply spatially relevant » Blog Archive » All sphunn out March 22, 2008 at 9:32 am

    […] I started my little tool initiative last week with a little help from Kevin Shea of Twing. This post’s tool is Sphinn, I was reminded of it because of a Twitter post which lead me to […]

  • Reply Soolleali January 21, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Nothing seems to be easier than seeing someone whom you can help but not helping.
    I suggest we start giving it a try. Give love to the ones that need it.
    God will appreciate it.