Move over, Google. Eat your heart out, Bing. While these types of “mainstream” search engines still dominate the landscape, it’s becoming more and more important for people to supplement their Internet research with some selective poking around in the social media universe, as well. If nothing else, the relatively uncensored nature of most social media sources (e.g. blogs, microblogs, podcasts, social networking sites, etc.) often turns up a juicier and more subjective set of data on companies, contacts, or any other topic you’re trying to research as part of your job hunting efforts.
Along these lines, the “social media search engine” I’ve recommended for the past few years is one called WhosTalkin.com. After turning up a competitor to this site, however, called SocialMention.com, I’ll confess I’m starting to like this new site even better. Why might this be the case? Well, while there’s not really a easy way to compare the sheer QUANTITY of results from one site to the next, the SocialMedia interface is just much…cooler…for lack of a better way to describe it, and provides some interesting summary results on the left-hand side that can be useful in certain cases. For example, when you look up any individual or topic of interest, the site tells you what the ratio of positive-to-negative comments about the subject is, approximately, and also provides a list of other closely-related words associated with the search subject in question. You can also sort the results in several different ways, which is really quite handy, and not a feature that’s offered on WhosTalkin for whatever strange reason.
At any rate, you can certainly run a side-by-side comparison of the two sites yourself to see which one you like better. But either way, I think you’ll want to have at least one of these sites tucked in your holster, going forward. They’ve become an invaluable research option for checking out companies and hiring managers, prior to interviews, as well as investigating certain industry topics that might be related to your professional goals. While you’re at it, make sure to check out YOURSELF to see what chatter, if any, might be hanging out there with your name on it — or click here to see a sample search on “Tiger Woods” that will give you a sense of how the SocialMention site operates and the types of data it serves up.