Social listening to your customers…when they don’t say your name

Social listening – for the past 10 years, since the founding of companies like Radian6 and ScoutLabs, it’s mostly meant “listening for the use of my brand’s name on social media so I can do damage control.”

There’s so, so much more than that. I’d like to write a book about how much more there is that that, but for now I’ll leave you with two thoughts:

* If your “social listening” only listens for your brand name, then it isn’t really social and it isn’t really listening.

* If you have customers, and you believe customer experience is important, then you should use social listening to see what your customers’ concerns, work, and day to day lives are like.

I’ve got some great systems for listening beyond brand name – to topical leaders talking about things other than…me. But now I’m building systems to listen to customers and it’s really exciting. It’s exciting to read about and listen to the work that is being done by the fascinating customers my employer works with! It’s fun – and it’s going to enable me to support those customers much, much better.

Is Google Glass Bolder Than the iPhone?

Google Glass could be understood as a new form of search, but the most important part of the tech – its information consumption capabilities – have not yet been demonstrated.

Tim O’Reilly said on Twitter yesterday that he suspects that Google Glass could be a tech milestone that surpasses the iPhone. What do you think?

The main objection seems to be that mainstream people won’t wear something so bulky. I actually think they are pretty unobtrusive and maybe they’ll grow even more so. So far we’ve really only seen the Write capabilities (broadcast of media) but I’m very excited to see the Read capabilities demonstrated. They say it’s not for regular browsing but for rapid access to information. It looks great. Will that information be contextually tailored to what you’re looking at? That’s the next question, whether it will deliver what some people call Augmented Reality. That could also be understood as automatic search, searching for information about what’s in front of you and what you’re doing – without your having to ask – because that’s what you’re most likely to want to know about. That fits within the things Google has said it would do.

I think the Read capabilities are going to have to be pretty well executed, because most people don’t need eyeglass video and image cameras. Live video is high pressure and out of sync with our usually silent and mundane lives. The power curve says that a much smaller number of people will create content than consume it – and I expect that will be true of Glass as well. But do I want to be able to look things up faster and less obtrusively with glasses than I do with a phone? Yeah, I do. Perhaps then Google Glass is really just more Search from Google. Search with a side of blogging.

Look out Responsive Web designers though, huh? Your job may have just gotten a lot harder. Perhaps the output will be text-only though.

The iPhone packed a whole lot of computing power into a wonderful interface. Presumably Glass will cary less computing power due to size and the requirements of the ways people will use them. Is the interface going to be that much more fabulous than the iPhone’s? It seems it would have to be to change the world as much.

They say that kids growing up now will have jobs as adults that don’t even exist today. I can imagine editing and annotating the long, chaotic and often boring video broadcast from the eyes of celebrities as one of those jobs.

New Google Plus People Search is Not Very Good

Google Plus released a search function this week, months after the search giant’s social network went live. The People search part at least is remarkably un-useful. I think there are huge opportunities in discovery of people but apparently Google thinks not so much, so far at least.

People search searches the About pages of peoples’ Google Plus profiles as a full-text search. There doesn’t appear to be any relevance ranking in the People Search results pages, either. So you get a lot of very random results.

Search for anthropologists and it does identify people who use the word anthropology in their About page, but they seem pretty random. Some of them are anthropologists, though. Search for people with the keyword baseball and the #1 result is an online marketer named Kevin Palmer who filled out the bragging rights section of his profile with the words “I got hit in the same spot on my leg in a high school baseball game.” I guess he means twice? I don’t know. Odd choice for the #1 search result from the #1 search company in the world. Maybe it will get better with time. I see that he’s following me on Plus though so maybe the results are different for everyone. Odd.

I hope it becomes awesome someday. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to find baseball playing anthropologists and pop a handful of them into a Circle?

Disclosure: I’m on the Google Plus suggested users list and thus have an economic interest in not criticizing the service.

How to find good blogs on almost any topic (Updated)

People come to my site every day to find out how to find good blogs on a topic of interest – and I just noticed that this article about it was written more than 5 years ago! It’s time I update it.

Five years later – only a handful of these methods below still work! It’s something I’ve needed to do a lot since then, though, so I’ve actually built a technology myself that I offer to my consulting clients and others. Update: Check out my startup Little Bird if you have a business need to find the top blogs in a field.

Presuming you’ve just got a casual need, though. Here’s what I suggested 5 years ago, now updated with some notes.

It’s true, almost every field of interest has bloggers now! So how can you find blogs about whatever you are interested in? Here are a number of ways I recommend:

  • Go to Technorati’s Blog Finder and search by author-submitted tag regarding entire blogs as opposed to individual posts. You can view these in order of “most authority” (inbound links) or “most recently updated.” This looks like it could still work, but I wouldn’t depend on it. Technorati, unfortunately, has become primarily an advertising network in recent years. Give it a shot though and let me know how the results are!
  • Here’s another cool service that didn’t make it, this site isn’t even online anymore: The other end of the spectrum, methodologically, might be Top Ten Sources. A fairly broad number of topics are covered here, with an expert human editor maintaining what they believe are the top ten blogs in their area of expertise. From Second Life to the Opera. For good times check out photoblogs and MP3 blogs. Since both of these are multimedia, the Top 10 pages themselves are less impressive than the individual blogs and feeds. I just subscribed to the OPML file of the Top Ten Photoblogs and yay am I excited.
  • This remains one of my favorite free methods and still works quite well: Look at what other people have tagged with the terms blog and your topic of interest in See, for example:
  • Still smart: When you find blogs you like, check if they have blog rolls – a list of their favorite blogs – in the sidebar. Or, check to see who is linking to the blog you found already by searching for their URL in Technorati, Icerocket or another blog search engine.
  • Haven’t done this in years: If you are looking through a large number of blogs and want to evaluate the quality of them, I like to open the Technorati Mini on my desktop and drop in blog URLs as I find them to see if other people are linking there. This only works when Technorati works, of course, and that’s only part of the time.

Well, there’s a few tips. Hope they are useful.

Another method I like: Take blogs you have found that you like, copy their URLs and paste them into a Google search. One of the links on the results page should be Similar. Like this. Give that a try.

If you’re doing this for work though (and you should, reading top blogs and finding industry leaders on Twitter can lend you a huge information advantage) then send me an email. I’ve been finding the best blogs for people for years on a variety of topics and can do a better job, faster and cheaper than just about any other method you’re likely to find.

The Top 35 UX Blogs (According to Google) and How to Search Them All at Once

In looking to write about the forthcoming Twitter push notifications tonight, I grabbed a list of the top 35 UX (user experience) blogs, according to Google’s new blog finder feature. (Didn’t know about that? ReadWriteWeb was the only leading blog that covered it.) The algorithm isn’t that great, in terms of ranking, but it took me from nothing to a whole lot of something in a hurry. It was more an experiment than anything else, to see how well Google’s new blog directory search worked. You know what else might prove useful? Googling for “top UX blogs” and finding human-compiled lists like this one from Whitney Hess.

I usually have much more extensive and rigorous processes for identifying the top blogs in a niche, but I needed something quick and dirty tonight. The real bummer? None of these blogs have ever written about the UX of push notifications! Amazing! I’m pinging some UX pros on Twitter though to see if they’ll comment for a write-up.

In the mean time, someone asked me on Twitter “what are the top 35 UX blogs online?” so I thought I’d share my work. Again, this is quick and dirty. But it’s better than nothing. My list so far is below and you can search the archives of all these blogs from this one URL. I even added 9 more from Hess and still nothing! Can you believe Bokardo, for example, has never blogged the phrase “push notifications”??

Identifying the top blogs in a niche is something I sometimes do for consulting clients and you’d better believe my deliverables are a lot prettier than this 🙂 but it’s 1:30 AM and I’m trying to write a blog post. I made this list and the custom search engine to search years of UX blogging experience in about 10 minutes, in case you’re curious. Boom!

Continue reading “The Top 35 UX Blogs (According to Google) and How to Search Them All at Once”

How One Advanced Search Operator Just Made Me Jump for Twitter Joy

“-source:Twitterfeed” Those were the magic characters. My longtime RSS mentor Marjolein Hoekstra told me about it tonight. From now on, the Twitter search results page I keep bookmarked and camp on day will be results for the search “benbarden OR qthrul OR marshallk OR rwwmike OR RWW OR sarahintampa OR chcameron OR fredericl OR curthopkins OR alexwilliams OR audreywatters OR adrjeffries OR klintron -source:TwitterFeed” (Those are my co-workers.) Ohhh, yeah!

I like Twitterfeed, but there are SO many spammers who use it that search results get pretty messy. I can deal with weak signal to noise ratios (I do it for a living, in fact) but if there’s an easy way to improve it, I’m pretty excited.

A Startup I’ve Now Used Every Day for the Past Week: Nsyght

Nsyght is a clever service with a terrible name (it’s hard to remember) and stock photo on its home page, but don’t be fooled – it’s really useful. I wrote about it on ReadWriteWeb last week under the title How to Search Inside Twitter Lists, and that’s just what it’s for. After a few minutes to index your stream, Nsyght will let you search inside tweets from your friends, inside particular lists or your own archive for months back in history. It’s awesome. I’ve been using it to filter for images shared by friends on Twitter (great for quick little posts) and to find old Tweets of mine that I can’t find nearly as quickly in any other way. And searching inside a Twitter list of topical experts for their opinions on a particular matter? So hot. It’s like a Custom Search Engine for twitter lists, which is incredibly powerful.

I think of things like this as curating my existing community resources, an all-too under utilized strategy I believe. That’s the kind of thing I’m likely to bring up as a guest tomorrow on, which I cannot recommend highly enough that you check out.