Since Twitter launched, there was one question to rule them all: What’s the point? The point of Twitter is still debatable, but a few hundred thousand people funneled in anyway, people from all kinds of backgrounds and interests, people with all kinds of connections. Only one problem: To find people, you had to depend on luck, or at least stumbling through a maze of faces and followers with the hope of finding someone interesting or relevant.
Enter Twellow.com, WebProNews’s Twitter people search and directory platform, a yellow pages for Twitter, or, as blogger David Risley has described it: this is awesomesauce. We don’t want to brag, especially since we made it, but it is kind of, well, awesomesauce.
Here’s the basics: Based upon Twitter’s open API, Twellow allows Twitterers to search for people on Twitter or, if they don’t exactly know who they’re looking for, they can search by categories sorted by keywords related to such things as industry, interests, or hobbies. If a user is looking to connect with someone in publishing, for example, Twellow will bring back Twitterers who have indicated that on their profiles, ranked by number of followers.
It even brings back what they’re most recent tweet was. Maggie Mason, for example, author of No One Cares What You Had for Lunch, a book on better blogging, tweets about her struggle with tissue paper and gift boxes, which suddenly becomes a metaphor for death. Not bad for a 140 characters. Call it flash non-fiction.
Though we’ve been quietly nudging people about it for a little while, once the blogosphere got a good look at it, this new Twitter directory saw a spike in usage of over 600 percent in under 16 hours.
“It kind of got out of the bag before we intended,” said Twellow lead developer Matthew Daines. By “we,” he means himself and WebProNews publisher and iEntry, Inc. CEO Rich Ord. And by “before we intended,” he means Twellow’s still at the alpha stage, just two months after conceptualization.
Nonetheless, Profy.com’s Leslie Poston blogs that despite its alpha status, Twellow “is surprisingly complete.” Once people started talking about it, and they did talk about it at sufficient length on blog after blog, a chorus of “one more thing” came spiraling through our blogospheric ear canals: Now that I can be found and indexed, how do I control what Twellow says about me?
Because Twellow pulled from how people had categorized and named themselves on Twitter before there was a Twellow around, some were surprised or dissatisfied with how they were now appearing in public, as though caught picking up the morning paper off the porch (nice slippers!). Not a problem, users can now edit their own results.
See, we’re swell. As Twellow grows, those wishing to come out from behind their shrouds of anonymity and obscurity would be wise to complete their profiles so Twellow and. . .Twellowers? . . . know what to make of them.
After the jump, more awesomesauce: What bloggers had to say about Twellow, and an interview with lead developer Matthew Daines.
What Bloggers Are Saying about Twellow.com
“Straight from the ‘why didnâ€™t Twitter build that’ category. . .” Scott Clark, Finding the Sweet Spot. Clark’s own interview with Matthew can be found here.
“. . .could fundamentally change the way people use [Twitter].” Adam Ostrow, Mashable.com.
“Once I started using it, I was hooked. . . .A lot of folks, myself included, make sure to use useful key words in their Twitter profiles, and now there is a reason other than SEO. You can be indexed in Twellow!” Michelle Lentz, bub.blicio.us.
“The site is actually as much news service as directory. . .a godsend for specialist journalists who can quickly build up a list of twitterers in their field.” Online Journalism Blog.
“I think you will find this invaluable for building a solid network of people who are interested in what you have to say – personal or professional.” RSSApplied.
“Twellow has absolutely made my bookmarked list of Twitter tools.” Leslie Poston, Profy.com.
About the Author:
Jason Lee Miller is a WebProNews editor and writer covering business and technology.