I sometimes think that Social Media’s single greatest strength is its ability to allow us to communicate to each other in the way that is most comfortable to us. I like to blog, so I blog. You like to Twitter, so you Twitter. For others it’s FaceBook or YouTube, or… The list is nearly endless. We each have our own preferred method (or three) for talking to each other. It makes it easy and comfortable. It is also a huge weakness.
If you speak Twitter and I speak blog, where do we meet? There are a variety of content aggregation services on the web that will pull in and post to a wide variety of services, and while that certainly helps, it can still be a challenge to follow a conversation across so many services. There are some sites out there that have tackled this problem such as FrendFeed and HootSuite, but the main shortcoming with those is that they rely on the number of friends you have in your network, severely limiting your results.
That’s where uberVU comes in.
uberVU allows you to track a topic across all the various social media services out there in one easy to use interface. I was impressed with its simple, straight forward interface and ease of use. All you do is enter a keyword or URL in the little box on the left, hit search, and wait for a moment. UberVU crawls the social web looking for all associated mentions of the story you are interested in. After a moment or two it then displays the results for you.
At the top of the results page are two charts, the first, called a “Reactions Evolution”, is a timeline of reactions (or mentions) of your search term(s). The second is a pie chart showing the distribution of those reactions according to which sites they came from. Again, easy to use and understand. You can also set up alerts for updated results right here.
Below the charts are the specific mentions of the keyword or url you entered, with the top stories listed to the right of that.
However, I think that my single favorite feature in uberVU isn’t in uberVU at all. It comes in the form of a Firefox Add-on that adds a button to your Google Reader, allowing you to see the specific reaction to a post or story that you are interested in right in Reader itself.
Power Tip: you can use this feature to keep track of reactions across the social web to your own stories and posts. Just add your own blog feed to Reader, and you are done.
My only beef with the Add On is that the button color is so low contrast on my default white background that it took me a moment to locate it at the bottom of a post. I would like to see a bit more contrast, making it easier to see, and therefore use.
In conclusion, I don’t see much wrong with uberVU, and a whole lot of right. It is an excellent way to keep track of your favorite stories and topics across all of the various social media sites without having to rely on having enough friends in Friend Feed, or manually visit a dozen or more individual sites. UberVU allows you to save your searches as a subscription or alert, and the results are refreshed each time you check on them, automatically. Add to that the Google Reader Add On and you have an easy way to keep track of, well pretty much anything you want across the social web. It’s easy, and so far as I am concerned, easy is good, which makes uberVU my new best friend.