Normally, PR firms are pitching us start-ups, not creating them. That's not the case with Twendz, a new Twitter tool from the folks at Waggener Edstrom. It pulls in the latest tweets on any given topic, and shows you what the overall user sentiment is, be it positive or negative.
This is cleverly wrapped up into an ever-flowing stream of new user tweets, the speed of which you can control anywhere from a slow crawl to two new tweets per second. It's also able to dig up a past history of how many people have posted something on the topic which goes back five hours. Each hour also shows you whether the overall sentiment was good or bad, which on a long enough timeline can tell a story.
Beyond streaming in new Twitter messages, which Twitter's own search can do (albeit requiring the user to refresh the page), the user sentiment engine is where the tool really shines. For instance, the new Apple iPod Shuffle, currently the top trending topic on Twendz, is getting an overall positive user sentiment. However, the tool also shows some of the main gripes people are having, both through the use of a tag cloud and often-repeated keywords.
My only beef with the tool is that it goes through a little song and dance each time you start monitoring a new keyword. The results that begin to filter in are two hours old, and finally catch up to near-real time in about a minute. It would be nice to simply skip to the latest tweets and analysis while cutting out the older messages. It would also be fantastic to be able to pit two trends against one another in the same window.
In the meantime, this is a great way to figure out what people are talking about without actually having to read their tweets, something that Twitter's own search lacks and third-party software tools like TweetDeck haven't quite nailed.
Thanks to @Dsilverman for the tip!