ConvoTrack: An Easy Way to Get the Web Pulse On Content You Read

by Ostatic Staff - Apr. 10, 2009

Ever heard of the BackType API? It's a free and open API that allows you to build mini applications around HTTP GET and POST requests. As TechCrunch notes, there is a very useful new applet built around it called ConvoTrack that allows anyone to instantly see what people are saying online about particular articles, blog posts and the like. I've been using it in conjunction with sites I visit frequently and articles from online writers that I like, and it's definitely a quick way to leap out of the localized comments found on blogs and many sites, and get a much larger picture of what people are talking about. It's easy to try it out, too, with no software installation needed. Here's how.

ConvoTrack pops up a sidebar next to any web page you're on with links to posts from social networking sites that include chatter, raning from Twitter to FriendFeed. All you need to do to pop up the sidebar is put this URL directly before the URL for any page you're currently viewing:

Note that you need to put the entire URL of the site you're on or the article you're reading after that prefix, and that includes the http prefix. So, for example, as I write this I'll enter this to see what people are saying out on the web about OStatic: Once I enter that URL, I get a dual-paned view showing OStatic on the right, and a list of online comments about recent blog posts on OStatic on the left. I can see that quite a lot of people are commenting on the open source healtchare post I put up yesterday, that some others are commenting on our story from this week about Drupal spreading out, etc.

Give ConvoTrack a try. It's a good way to see what the buzz is about content you read or produce online. It's also a polite little app, and gives you a Close button up top to instantly get rid of it.