When I mention Google and Twitter, the initial thought is likely of two companies that dominate the internet. Google helps you search the internet, finding whatever random information you’re seeking. If it’s there, you’re pretty confident Google can find it. What makes Twitter similar to Google is the ability to conduct searches. Searching a topic on Twitter won’t provide you far-reaching results Google provides, but it can tell you what people are saying about that topic. Might that be useful information to you? I think so. Imagine a search engine that provided you real-time results and an archive to thumb through on a given topic. That’s useful information to nearly any business and it’s not a particularly new idea. It’s useful to anyone, really. For instance, let’s apply this to everyone’s favorite sport, fantasy football. When the Atlanta Falcons played the New York Jets in Week 5, one of their top wide receivers, Roddy White, was still working his way back from an injury. He wasn’t the same player fantasy football GMs were used to having. If a White owner wanted to know what his chances were of being strong against the Jets, he could find that information in a variety of ways. He could search Google and get blogs and articles on the topic, but even that can’t offer the immediacy Twitter can. Monday morning before the game, a search in Twitter of “Roddy White” gave me a lot of results. I performed this search using the web-based Twitter. The results give you people search results (so you can follow White if you wish) as well as the conversation results of what people are saying about White on Twitter. There’s a mix of conversations to and from fantasy “experts” as well as general conversations and links to additional content. Short of getting the nod from White himself, it’s the closest to real-time info you’re going to find. Twitter search results can give you a solid sample of what people are saying about anything. Maybe you represent your city’s convention department and want to know what customers are saying about a recent event you hosted or certain centers you work with. Tool around on Twitter with a variety of search topics related to all of that and you’ll find some useful information. What you do with it is up to you, but it’s there if you know how to look for it. As for event planners, I haven’t forgotten about you. Whether or not you’ve opted for a hashtag-driven campaign as part of your social media influence on an event you’ve planned, you can still use Twitter to search what people are saying. Hashtags make it easy, but your attendees have to be willing—or inspired—to use them. Hashtags or not, it’s still worth your time to search topics involved with your event. Search the area of town it’s hosted in, the event center’s name or keynote speakers. Some of what you’ll find may be harsh, but it’s most often someone’s honest opinion. We’ll discuss how to handle critical feedback another time, but for now, just remember: Twitter offers a wealth of information beyond your timeline and @ mentions. Just don’t use Twitter like this guy.