Featuring marketing tips, tech news, digital wonders, some personal things and everything in between . . .

How To Use Twitter As Search

Monday June 22, 2009

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past week you know that Twitter has moved from being a noun to a verb with the help of CNN & the Iran Election. With all western news services, internet & phone service cut off the people of Iran are the only news team in town, complete with spies and counter spies.

Twitter users everywhere have shown solidarity with the protesters by turning their Twitter icons green and changing their location to Tehran to thwart searches for protesters by Iranian security forces.

On 9/11 we were all Americans, as the protests unfold on Twitter, we have all become Iranian.

The World & CNN are watching from Twitter. Here is how you can too.

If you have not done so already go sign up for Twitter.

After you have your account go to http://search.twitter.com/ there you can see the top 10 trending topics.

Trending topics: Iran, #iranelection, #musicmonday, Wimbledon, Tehran, Perez Hilton, Tim Burton’s Alice, Neda, iPhone, US Open

You can click these topics to see what is being said in real time on Twitter about each subject, or you can search for your own from the query field.

Once you get the results page notice in the top right “Feed For This Query” copy that link to your Google Reader account click “Add A Subscription” and paste the link into the field and have your search come to you!

Tune in next week when I show you how to use hashtags on Twitter…

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Yesterday was Mothers Day and across American men were waking up and Googling,

“How to make French Toast”

I had more hope for them than I did for the guys who were searching for the next related phrase,

“How to scramble an egg”

Kinda waiting for the last minute on that one eh guys?

How do I know what people are Googling? With yet another cool tool from Google Labs.

Google Zeitgeist and the hourly Google Trends Top 100

What is Google Zeitgeist?

zeit·geist | Pronunciation: ‘tsIt-“gIst, ‘zIt | Function: noun | Etymology: German, from Zeit (time) + Geist (spirit) | Date: 1884 | Meaning: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era.

“Zeitgeist” means “the spirit of the times”, and Google reveals this spirit to us through the aggregation of millions of search queries they receive every day. Google has several tools that give insight into global, regional, past and present search trends. These tools are available for us to play with, explore, and learn from. We use them for everything from blogging ideas to trivial pursuit answers.

I hope you enjoy exploring the spirit of our time.

Tune in next Monday when I show you how to discover what people are twittering about in real time!

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One of the things I have wanted to do with my iPhone was to be able to view archived google talk chats via the device. If you are using imap, go to “Labels” under your Gmail settings you will see “Chats” but no way to select “Show in IMAP” Here is my “almost” workaround.

Once you have logged into your gmail account, click “Create a filter” (next to the search mail button) in the subject field place “Chat with” and click the “Next Step” button, check “Apply the label” and make a new label named “iChat” check “Also apply filter to X number of Conversations below.” and click “Create Filter”

Then go to “Settings”, “Labs” and make sure that you have “Advanced IMAP Controls” enabled for your account, and that you have chats set to archive. Look under “Settings” “Chat” and select “Save chat history”

Now go back to “Settings”, “Labels” and check that your new “iChat” label is set to “Show in IMAP”

On your iPhone you should now see your iChats folder when you open the email app and your chats,

Check it out and tell me if it works for you, as I am only seeing some of my chats.

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Recently I received an Amazon.com gift certificate as a gift. I am an avid reader and an avid kindle reader so I am sure that is what my in-laws had in mind.

I have come to rely on Amazon.com for far more than just books. This particular transaction was representative of how social media is molding the customers’ experience for the better and I feel compelled to share the story.

Once people were quite wary of ordering online. Giving their credit card information over the internet to people unseen seemed scary and just not wise. Years later I make most of my purchases online. What is not to love? You can order exactly what you want. There is no trip to the mall. No walking up and down the shopping center corridor looking for that store directory while hoping for one more chance to find the exact brand and model so you can go home.

First it starts with how I select my purchases. I am a review reader and a very specific shopper. I generally know exactly what I want and why I want it. I don’t necessarily come up with these answers myself, but I have trusted experts, think of them as “authority sites”.

I wanted to get a few items for the kitchen. For cooking and kitchen equipment my two top sources are Alton Brown and America’s Test Kitchen. Alton Brown, of Good Eats and Iron Chef America fame, has won me over again and again with his creative and campy show “Good Eats”. His advice and elementary scientific explanation of why things work fascinates me and turns the once mundane chore of cooking dinner into a fun and creative thing to do at the end of the day. His show “Good Eats” is a family favorite in our house. I frequent his website for quick recipes and tips. Alton is welcome at our house any day. Here he is with some Thanksgiving tips.

America’s Test Kitchen is my other authority. They judiciously test equipment and recipes. They recommend good solid equipment and explain why they favor one model over another. I have their family cookbook and it is where I get all my “Mom answers”.

So with “my authorities” suggesting what makes and models are the best purchases I take a cursory look at Amazons’ online reviews and as long as I don’t see any glaring descrepancies in the reviews I make my purchase.

Amazon follows up and makes sure your purchases arrive on time and there is a link so you can track the delivery right to your door. Not everything is actually purchased directly from Amazon as they are the dealer for other merchants and resellers.

This time my entire order arrived within days, except for the pie dish. I had specifically chosen this pie dish for its deep well, perfect for a really deep apple crisp. It turned out that I was not the only one eying this lovely deep pie dish from the reseller unbeatablesale.com as it was sold out. My account was never charged. A few days later I was asked to review my experience. I couldn’t give the transaction 5 stars as I didn’t receive my purchase. I did comment that the item was sold out and while I was disappointed it would certainly not prevent me from shopping there again.

A store representative emailed me as a result of my less than 5 star rating and offered a gift certificate to use in their online store worth twice the amount of my initial attempted purchase.

They listened to my review. They care about the ratings. They care about the rating because the ratings from social media are going to affect their future sales. I am going to shop their because it is convenient and I am heard. If I am not satisfied they are going to remedy the situation.

No hassles. No buyers remorse. I like it.

Social Media improving the customer experience.

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The Oxbow World Longboard Tour came to town last week, And Webconsuls was there to cover the show. Surf legends and 44 of the worlds top longboard surfers were treated to hot and glassy surf for the entire contest. This year the event was located on the historic Surf Beach at San Onofre, the heart of Aloha on the US mainland. The winner, Bonga Perkins, was kind enough to sit down and answer all of the tough questions for our littlest interviewer. For more from the Oxbow World Tour 2008 San Onofre Championships please visit, LBChampionship.com. Video By Ella G. McClure, Questions By Ella G. McClure

For help with getting your live event on the internet,
Via Blogs, Youtube, Twitter, and other social media venues please contact us here at Webconsuls.

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Apple.com > Support > Discussions > Using iPhone > Installing and Using iPhone Applications 

I am having issues with my new iPhone 3G and I wanted to share them with you. I have noticed that the new 2.0 verision was about half as stable as the old version, and after a hard crash all of my apps stopped working.

A quick trip to the Apple support forums confrimed my fear, I have stubbledupon yet another know issue with the iPhone. Here are the steps I used to fix it. (Come on Apple! We Need a REAL fix here ASAP!)

After you have synched with iTunes, if  your downloaded apps stop working,  {On my iPhone they open then close blip!}  From your iPhone, go to the app store and download a free app, which will ask you to log into your iTunes account, when your new app is done downloading and installed, switch your iPhone all the way off by holding the power button and the home button until you see “slide to switch off” then slide the switch off. Wait a bit then switch your iPhone back on, all apps should be present and working. Y.M.M.V.

Did this help you get your iPhone Apps working, or did you use another method?

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There is a world out there, more of a world. With the push of a button, a million possibilities await you; this Utopia is smaller than a note card, and lives inside your pocket. The new IPhone is the cutting edge of technology, the Alpha y Omega; there are many instruments that try to compete and at the surface appear to be similar, but with a little investigation you find something quite unique.

Your music, photos, and email accessible with a touch-screen, is only the tip of the iceberg; real time GPS and any kind of application you could think of, with more to come. The question is not what your IPhone can do? Rather, what can your IPhone not do? Having the ability to manage your social media real time makes social media more universal. Millions of web sites have and are making their pages IPhone friendly; companies have become aware of the implications and the potential of this virtual treasure chest. Wake up on time, plan your day, work from anywhere, and do all of this while listening to your favorite tunes! On a daily basis I find something new and exciting regarding the capabilities of this hand held computer. I am experiencing the joy of this product, like no other gadget I have ever had; at times the excitement can be too much to handle.

I can still remember: my first desktop, my first laptop, my first Discman, and my first IPod. The desktops were bulky and slow and were inefficient; speed got better, but what about size? Laptops made up for the size problem, and for a time satisfied your needs; but you could never fit your laptop into a pocket. Discmans made sound mobile, but they skipped and you had to carry all your cds with you wherever you went. IPods held all the music you wanted and could fit into a pocket, but in a pocket already containing: car keys, cell phones, palm pilots, and whatever else one carries with them daily. Was all the clutter convenient?

It seems like so long ago that I started this technological ride into the future. I felt like I was on the brink of something amazing taking place; with every year that passed, the horizon became closer. The anticipation of a new gadget that would make my computer more universal, faster, and a little better was what I dreamed about. The release of the IPod was the pinnacle of technology when it came to media; first with music and recording, and then with video. I was satisfied beyond belief with IPod, and wondered where Apple could go next with this device? A phone? An IPhone?

With the advent of the IPhone it became very clear that the sky was the limit. You could now manage your whole life with this masterpiece; from organizing your media, all the way to managing your business, work and play had truly become One. Isnt that what life is about? The freedom to accomplish your needs from wherever you exist at any given moment; especially in this fast paced world, a world where every second counts, when he who arrives first gets the prize. The plot has been set, the characters are in their right places; I welcome you to the climax, enjoy!

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Dr. Randy Pausch, the charismatic Carnegie Mellon professor known for his “Last Lecture” and celebrated for his co-founding of the Entertainment Technology Center and the creation of ALICE, which uses his famed “head fakes” to teach 3D programming, died on July 25, 2008 at the age of 47 from complications related to pancreatic cancer.

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Found a good one from MacRummors, Where and how to download and install the new iPhone 2.0 version firmware. Yes folks! It is now time to start installing those Apps on your iPhone!

Download the iPhone1,2_2.0_5A347_Restore.ipsw file (download that here)

Now you will need to update your iTunes, in iTunes Store search for “apps” then click on the title of one of the free apps and try to “Get App” this will prompt you to download and upgrade your iTunes. Do so, and run iTunes and plug in your iPhone.


You install your iPhone firmware to 2.0 by manually by pressing the “Option key” on your Mac or the “Shift Key” in Windows when you are pressing the “Check for Update” button for your iPhone in iTunes. You can then navigate to where you saved the iPhone1,2_2.0_5A347_Restore.ipsw file and click open. And you are walked thru the remaining steps! It is that easy!

Got iPhone 2.0 Yet?

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With the price of gasoline now over $4.00 a gal are you looking at these Water for Gas solutions? Fact or Fantasy?

Are you using Water for Fuel?

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In this short vid from the head of Google’s webspam team, Matt Cutts, provides some great tips on how to optimize the images you include on your website. A how to directly from Google with useful, accurate information on your ALT attributes and how they can make your photos and pictures more accessible.

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Scheduled blog post publishing, which was first talked about on Blogger in draft last month, is now live for everyone. So if you set a post’s date into the future, Blogger will wait to publish until that time comes!!!

It is now a cool Sunday morning in Souther California, I have a hot cup of coffee, and I am putting together Monday mornings blog post. So for all of you reading this Monday May 5th Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Scheduling a post is easy to do: on the post editor page, click the “Post Options” toggle to show the “Post date and time” fields. Then, type a post date and time that’s in the future. When you click the “Publish” button, your post will become “scheduled.” When the date and time of the post arrive, it will be automatically published to your blogger blog.

“Scheduled” posts appear in your Edit Posts list alongside your drafts and published posts. To un-schedule a post, simply save it as a draft any time before it gets published.

One quick note: If you want to give a post a date in the future but have it appear on your blog now, you’ll need to add in an extra step. First, publish your post with the current date and time. This will make it appear on your blog. Then, edit the post to change the date into the future and publish it again.

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Social Networking websites such as MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn are growing and some people still don’t know about them. It’s easy to make an account. Simply sign up and see how many of your friends are on there. Then, view their friends profiles and see how you can relate to them or find their knowledge or connections useful to you.

It’s a great way to expand your social network and get to know more of your friends friends.

Everyone’s on there, are you?

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Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch, who is dying from pancreatic cancer, gave his last lecture at the university Sept. 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium. In his moving talk, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals.

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Today across the bloggispheir everyone from Seth Godin to Nate Ritter are bemoaning the problem of the signal to noise ratio going in the wrong direction.

Being that any social network is only as strong as the people who call it their own these posts got me thinking about something that has been running around in my head for some time. Twitter for me has become my Search Tool of choice. If I need a Guru, I can ask the folks who use twitter for help.

So, here is my idea, and it is far from new, Nate rightly called it “Pay it Forward”, but let’s also make it into a game!

We Twitter users LOVE games!

Got Twitter? Ask a question, get REAL answers from REAL people.

Then, Become the Guru and answer a question, want bonus points? answer 2 or more questions!

We could track thru hashtags, so

#1to1 would be 1 point,

Think this would work?

What else would you do to make Paying it Forward on Twitter fun?

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Ok, so you have taken our advice and you have decided to dip your toes into the growing “Social Environment” on the internet. How do you keep the nudges, zombie attacks, and status updates (AKA BACON) from making your work or personal email box unmanageable?

That is EASY!

I sign up for all my new “Social accounts” with a gmail address I use for just for this reason. That way if an email comes into my work account I can be fairly certain that it will be “Ham” (Thanks to Gmail for Your Domain) and I should check to make sure it is not a fire that needs my immediate attention. Now if I see an email come to my “Social accounts gmail address” I can digg thru all the “Bacon” at my leisure.

Use this tip and your “Bacon” will never become your new “Spam”

Got a good tip that you would like to share with us?

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Happy Earth Day, Wanted to share what we are driving, The Greenest Car of 2008.

The Honda Civic GX. Got $5.00 gas yet? You should take a look at this car.

(if you live in California or New York that is…)

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Login with your http://www.youtube.com account, and go to

Account > More > Account, Video Playback Quality,

Set to “I have a fast connection. Always play higher-quality video when it’s available.”

And click save.

Above is a short video we put together for Saco River Canoe & Kayak Adventures trips in New Hampshire & Maine’s White Mountains, notice how much better the higher quality version looks?

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“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle,
or Getting your head around Twitter.

Ok, you just got twitter and you are completely lost as to what to do with it.

First, follow some people with your interests, you can do a search or use twitter tracking to find the buzz from people with your interest who are already using Twitter. (A “How-to” for another blog post, this walk thru is about using Twitter via the web.)

We all start our day at home and that is as good a place as any to start your day twittering.


Here you will see a “Recent” tab, these are messages from the people that you follow and this is where you are at at Twitter when you are at home.

Next you will see a “Replys” Tab, these are messages the have been made by other Tweeters that reference you in some way, a reply or a remark, @DarinRMcClure would be about me for instance.

The “Archive” tab would be everything that you have publicly posted on Twitter, and a great way to see where your were, or what you were doing on any given day.

I like to tweet cool quotes, or links that I want to be able to check at leisure, and this is where we get to the Meat of Twitter,

What are you doing?

A good way to let your friends know you are online and checking into twitter, is to just say hello.

I see tweets that range from “another great day, or good morning, or COFFEEEEEE!!!!” Ok, I do all the coffee tweets …

Don’t miss your direct messages,


And as this is a conversation, reply to your replies,


Then go back “Home” since you only followed “Groovy People” you should see some interesting to REMarkable things in your public timeline, from Haiku’s on the smell of the person in front of you at FiveBucks, to classic rockers coaxed out into the twitterverse.

Want to really have fun, get your family on twitter, friends, coworkers. You will get to know them in ways that you may never have before. Who got fresh powder in Utah, Who is competing in an around the world adventure for charity, who is stuck in traffic, or thinking about a great new mashup.

Got twitter?

Spend the next 21 days playing with it, and you may.

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In a perfect world your website is available on the internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week …

but things can happen.

  • You may accidentally let your domain expire. How could that happen? You may have signed up for your domain with an email you no longer use.
  • Hackers could break into the server where your site is hosted. This is not uncommon.
  • A script can exploit a widely used piece of software such as a content management system.

All of these can bring your site down. You may not find out as immediately as you would like and in the meantime opportunities are lost and leads move on.

Here is an easy way to check in on your website throughout your day.

Set the home page of the your internet browser to your website. Every time you open your browser your website will appear. This montoring can help catch problems that may arise as soon as possible.

Setting your browser to open to your website (Click on screen shots to enlarge.):

Internet Explorer

Tools > Internet Options > General Tab > type in your website into the “To create home page tabs”

If you type in more than one address your browser will open all the websites each in a different tab.



Tools > Options >



Edit > Preferences >