Bit.ly’s live search engine surfaces trends
Realtime by bit.ly is a social search engine that launched a few years ago, but if you polled the internet, many still haven’t heard of it, giving those of you reading right now an advantage. The company calls themselves an “internet attention ranking engine,” so you can see in real time what the world is reading and sharing, with sophisticated filters to narrow down your search by topic, domains, social networks, and even location.
Originally launched in private beta, anyone can now log in with Twitter or Facebook credentials to see what the most clicked and shared bitly links are, giving a realtime view of trends. Twitter has long offered trending topics and a variety of third party sites have popped up to map and track these trends, but Realtime offers insights into several social networks and sites.
Rumors have flown around over the years that Realtime would become bitly’s paid tool as a means of generating revenue, but it remains free as of publication. They’ve long implied plans to expand their search tools, with Realtime as the first important step, with better mobile tools hopefully on the horizon.
Important use for Realtime
Besides general interest and knowing the top stories, we see more relevant uses locally and industry-specific. Not only to be on top of trends for your job, Realtime may surface relevant information on your competitors, or heck, even your own brand, and even help fuel your own blog content.
Consider searching for keywords in your industry on a local level, so if you’re an accountant, for example, search for tax policy proposals and see what others are saying. Perhaps do a search on your competitor and see what kind of news coverage they’re getting locally so you know what news outlets are interested in writing about a service or product like theirs (and thus yours).
Do some intel by knowing what links are getting clicks and views, rather than simply assuming that what you see in your own social streams is what the most relevant to consumers and potential clients.