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April 14, 2009

TwitZap Adds Filtered Channels To Twitter

TwitZap is a new application for Twitter that combines search and filtering in a way that can be very beneficial to bloggers. The aim of TwitZap is to “slice” Twitter up into more distinguishable channels so that you can better digest what’s going on in the Twitterverse.

It’s a worthy cause–Twitter is quite massive and is difficult to keep track of when you’re trying to use Twitter for blogging purposes. See, when you’re redistributing content through Twitter and need to leverage Twitter users for building your brand, engaging users in conversation is the best way to do that. But finding the users that are conversing about your topics of interest is the tricky part.

That’s where TwitZap comes in. It tracks certain keywords so that you can essentially filter Twitter however you see fit. The beauty of TwitZap is that it picks up where Twitter leaves off. Where Twitter has a search tool you can use, it’s separate from your actual Twitter account and doesn’t track items you’ve already read. Similar to Google Reader, however, TwitZap will remember what relevant tweets you’ve looked at so that you don’t have to deal with repeat content.

Aside from this, TwitZap also ties in with your Twitter account. It actually “wraps” around your Twitter profile. This means that you can add keywords to track and they’ll become one of your tabs, right under “Direct Messages” and “Mentions.” This enables you to follow more than one keyword, each of which is readily accessible along with all the other main aspects of your Twitter page.

Now, the act of following certain keywords for filtering purpose is nothing new when it comes to Twitter. Several third party apps have created services that perform similar functions, and others still that have added keyword filters as one of their many features. But TwitZap integrates with your Twitter account without requiring you to download a separate application, or even needing to open a window separate from your regular Twitter profile.

The downside is that in doing so, you’re also isolating the TwitZap search service, replacing your regular Twitter experience with TwitZap, and using it as a feature that may be included in another desktop solution such as Tweetdeck.

It also appears that in signing in to Twitter via TwitZap, you’r also filtering Twitter conversations based on your keyword only as it pertains to the users you’re following. This could greatly minimize the potential use cases for TwitZap, as you’re unable to find new users to connect with based on your topics of interest. This isn’t the case on TwitZap’s homepage. You’re better able to discover new users if you check out the hot topics being followed on TwitZap’s homepage, but there is no search function here–you’ll need to sign in to receive results based on your own search terms. This may minimize the amount of data TwitZap needs to search in order to provide results, but it also minimizes the overall benefits TwitZap extends to end users.

Lastly, TwitZap also has recommended channels presented on both its homepage as well as your TwitZap-wrapped profile (once you sign in). Should TwitZap gain any traction, these recommended channels coul be useful promotional tools for bloggers, sites and brands. Similar to the way in which Twitter now offers a slew of recommendations upon registration, TwitZap recommended channels can be goodfor helping related users gain new followers.

Kristen Nicole also author of “The Twitter Survival Guide“.