Top ten business ideas generated using microblog search

Tweeple need stuff The prevailing question for entrepreneurs and investors alike is: What do people really NEED? Or if already you have an idea of what you’d like to do: Does my business idea solve a real problem? The question is important since in order to run a successful business, you need for real to solve a problem or fulfill a need (although businesses that are less successful may resort to artifically creating or amplifying one).

With the advent of microblogs and more specifically microblog search, there is now an immediate way to listen in to people’s real needs, as expressed in their own words, all day, every day.

To get a fresh batch of new business ideas one simply have to search for needs. “I need a” or “I want a” are search phrases that generate excellent lists of real needs and wants of people. So without further ado, here are ten exemples of business ideas skimmed from microblogs, in order of perceived value:

10. Vampire-name generator

9. Social focus groups for feedback on web site design

8. Home-delivery haircut

7. Package delivery from post office to door

6. Dating service for geeks 

5. On-demand fact checker service

4. Cure for insomnia 

3. Hug delivery service  

2. In-office napping solution 

And the number one most valuable business idea according to the needs and wants of microbloggers, as indicated by thousands of munchie tweets and notes:

1. Around the clock snack and beverage delivery service

So there it is. What needs do you find expressed in microblogs that are funny/informative/moving?

Some useful microblog search tips

When you are using the microblog search for monitoring activity regarding your online identity you might be performing a search similar to “twingly“. However, if you are a frequent poster you will get a lot of posts that you have posted. It is easy to get rid of that, just make a search for: “twingly -from:twingly“. That way you get stuff where your name has been mentioned, but not the posts you have written.

This can be taken one step further to just return results where your name is mentioned, without being directed at you. “twingly -from:twingly -to:twingly“.

You can also narrow down the search result by adding a time span. “twingly -from:twingly -to:twingly since:2009-01-01 until:2009-01-07“, this would translate to “show me all microblog posts that contains the word twingly, but isn’t directed at twingly or sent from that user, posted sometime in the first week of 2009”.

The search result for the search phrase “@twingly” will include posts directed to the user “twingly”, but also those who just mentions that specific user.

In the microblogging sphere it is also quite common with something called “hashtags”. This is simply a way of labeling posts. To find posts with a specific hashtag, simply perform a search for the tag you are looking for. “#twingly” would bring you a search result with posts tagged with “twingly”

If you want to monitor these, you can do this via our RSS and email alert features. You find these options in the right side of the search result page as soon as you have performed a search. This will allow you to relax, while our system automatically will provide you with new search results.

The world's 1st Microblogging Conference

Better late than never – this one could say about a late summary from me about the MBC09, but also maybe “last but not least”.

The MBC09 in Hamburg on the 23rd and 24th of January 2009 was the first Microblogging Conference of the world ever, organised by Cem Basman and a great team of people around him which made it a real success. Cem’s Summary together with links to media and pictures you find here.

I went there as a non-techie and must say that I was a bit wary about maybe the tech-talk being a bit much for a non-developer. Many asked me if I was sent by the company, and the answer is yes and no. At first I just wanted to go as a visitor in order to meet old faces and new people, but then our project of developing the Microblog-Search took vast steps forward. First we decided that I should introduce the concept of it, but then, after Christmas it was pretty clear that the release date could even be before the MBC09 – which we thought would be a great opportunity to introduce its functions to a larger audience and get some direct feedback. So I had the pleasure to present our new baby to a rather interested crowd. Among them were  Marco from Seesmic/Twhirl, Carmen from Cirip.ro and Tapio from Oseon Conversations. A bit later joined Nicole Simon, author of book and blog  “Mit 140 Zeichen” (for when again is the book’s translation into English planned? 😉 ) – she added some more really good questions to the little discussion that already had formed.

I on the other hand also listened to some really good keynotes and sessions, i.e. from Sarik (Cellity) and Ralf who presented the development of the German microblogging service Bleeper. This motivated me to create also an Identi.ca account. Which brings us to one of the main discussion points of the MBC09 – will Twitter have to open or will they survive as a closed solution? The panel in the evening of the first day put this topic forward once again. By then also Evan Prodromou had made it to the venue – and all that because the peeps at Identi.ca did not obey the old rule “never do an update or a release on a Friday” 😉 … In the evening however one could find him after a long day enjoying himself on the party and chatting away to the MBC09 crowd.

Unfortunately, I was there only for Friday (collision with a long planned personal event on Saturday/Sunday in Stockholm) – but next time I will be there all days! Then I do not miss great sessions and panels like “Twitter in Journalism”. Also, as it is for sure that the conference will be held again in English and as we do have some time now for planning, there might very well a (developer?)-colleague following to Cologne as well. We will see!

I made quite a few new contacts, not only for business, and I really loved that one day, the people and the party a lot.
Let’s make part II even better – “Cologne, Cologne, we will go in Cologne!” (alternative version of the German “Berlin, Berlin, wir fahren nach Berlin!”)

This is some information about the past MBC09 and about the one to come.

– The old stuff (with new stuff about the old stuff).
– The new stuff.

C U in Cologne – and before that maybe even in Berlin?

MBC09 Logo

Twingly inaugurating world's first federated microblog search

This is it! Today we’re launching Twingly Microblog Search.

We’ve been microblogging for a couple of years now at Twingly. Mostly at Jaiku because it’s been the service of choice for new-media-people here in Sweden but we have our own Twitter and since Twitter is becoming bigger and bigger here in Sweden, we’ve been more active there lately.

When we last summer started to see the microblogging-hype we felt that a search dedicated to microblogs would be a quite natural development for us. We like Twitter Search and been using it a lot, especially at conferences and when news like Mumbai were having the best news source at Twitter. But because we used Jaiku ourselves it wasn’t what we needed in many cases.

Today we’re proud to launch our own microblog search with both Twitter, Jaiku, Identi.ca, Pownce (which is sadly closed but we still have a lot of data indexed so we keeped it) and even some local microblogging platforms like the Swedish Bloggy and the German Bleeper.

It’s also therefore we call it the first federated microblog search because our goal is to indexing all microblogs from all services. If you know more microblogging services or run your own, please contact our developers so we could start index it.

twingly-microblog-search-logo

To be more clear about how the search works it’s for now quite clean, we would love to hear what features you would like to have in our tech plan, but there’s some really useful tools in there already that could be nice to stated out:

  • Like every search result at Twingly.com, it’s possible to get a widget for it to use on your own website or blog.
  • Email-alerts so you don’t miss any important reply, retweet or comment dedicated to you or to use like a way to monitor your brands name.
  • RSS to keep you updated on what microblogs saying about you, your brand, interest or anything else straight in to your RSS-reader.
  • It’s possible to search for hashtags (#tag) and replies (@name)

More search possibilities could be found in our help-page and in a follow-up blog post.

The true behold of Twingly Microblog Search is of course for many people the possibilities to get a full overview of what’s saying about you, your brand or your interest on not only one service but on all microblogs. Why just search in one service when there’s many other services with active users, too?

Some improvements are still to come. The search is not realtime at the moment, expect about a five minute delay (sometimes more if the result page ends up in the cache). This will be remedied later on so that we can provide a true conversational search. Jaiku comments are not indexed. Bummer. We have been talking to @jyri about ways to accomplish that, hopefully it will be resolved soon. Verbs like save, retweet, reply, comment should be implemented in the search result.

Anyhow, we hope you’ll enjoy our new microblog search as much as we do. We’ll listen to you.

Update: Techcrunch post is here.