Learning about new websites and services would rank among the best parts of attending gatherings like the Canadian Post-Secondary Education Web Conference (#pseweb). When JP Rains of Laurentian University mentioned real-time social-media monitoring site Icerocket.com in his presentation, I knew it was worth checking out. My two-word review: Whoa! Cool!
I like Icerocket for its very fast search, usability and clean organization: The top bar provides options for Blogs, Web, Twitter, Facebook, News, Images and Big Buzz. All those options are self-explanatory, with the exception of Big Buzz — which compiles all of the above plus video on one page (you have to scroll, occasionally past banner ads, to figure this out). It’s strange that Video is not an option on the top bar at this point, but otherwise their sense of organization is logical and user-friendly.
As a bonus, Icerocket offers services including an RSS Builder, a Blog Tracker that invisibly can provide analytics on your blog(s), its own RocketMail service, a Blog Trends search and an IceSpy tracker that shows top searches by Icerocket users. They also welcome you to add your blog to their search results in a one-step process if it isn’t in already. That’s a lot of functionality all under one roof.
It stacks up very favorably vs. services I’ve been using:
Icerocket vs. Addictomatic.com: Long-time favorite Addictomatic offers a nicer interface in terms of the layout aggregating various searches onto one page. But as a result, the search returns are shallower and send you to the native search page for each application, from which you have to use the back button. Addictomatic offers more surfaced search options, but some of those are for obscure services. The ability to quickly toggle to long, comprehensive lists of each search tool gives Icerocket a clear edge.
Icerocket vs. SocialMention.com: My main problem with SocialMention has always been its slow-as-molasses serving up of searches. Icerocket blasts SM out of the water by providing nearly instantaneous response. Icerocket’s search via media category is more logical and has a better signal-to-noise ratio than SM. This matchup is a no-contest.
Speed and ability to search within one site prove especially important if, say, half your audience calls your college “SUNY Oswego” and the other half uses “Oswego State.” Did I mention this is a free service? Like I said: Whoa! And: Cool!