by Jason Kincaid on September 15, 2009

Twitter has established itself as the best place to find real time information, but anyone who has tried using its native search engine at has probably found that it leaves a lot to be desired — aside from the day’s ‘top trends’, Twitter does very little to help surface results that are worthwhile. TC50 finalist Instattant may have the answer. The startup has built a new engine for monitoring real-time news, that can also be leveraged to track brands, ad campaigns, and basically everything else that pops up on Twitter.

The site features an analytics platform that can perform semantic analysis on Tweets as they come in — in other words, it can tell what a tweet is talking about, and if it has a positive or negative sentiment. The site can also identify links and media that are rapidly rising in popularity, and displays headlines in real-time as they come in. For Tweets with media, the site allows users to view photos and play videos inline.

The top of the site features a list of headlines, detailing some top trends being seen on Twitter (for example, it could say that 77% of the tweets about the movie Extract are positive). If you’re interested about a certain topic or person, you can run a search for them and the site will present a list of top headlines related to that query, along with quick stats about the keyword’s appearances. If you run a search on a user, you can see what other users they’re related to and how much influence they have. To help further refine searches Insttant can filter by location, so you can hone in on tweets that most relevant to you.

Q&A with panelists Dick Costolo, Reid Hoffman, Sean Parker, Mike Schroepfer, and Robert Scoble:
DC: I think market for this for advertisers/marketers it’s great. But I think it would be hard to make this appealing to end users and advertisers at once.
MS: Do you track all topics, is there a limit to what topics? How real time is it?
A: It’s all topics. We’ll look at “Toyota is___”, “I don’t like ___”. To help determine what something is.
RH: I think that getting a lot of different versions of analysis of what’s happening on the real time web is interesting. I think it will be challenging to have a user experience where users are participating in the real time web, and also offering an analytic overlay. I think this would be good for marketers.

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