Despite its ups and downs, the microblogging platform Twitter has been a hot topic lately among marketers. Twitter can be an interesting place to listen… but if you’re wondering what Twitter users have to say about your brand or your community, it might be easier to find what you’re looking for by searching for it on one of the many search engines that have popped up recently.

Summize Conversational Search is one of the fastest and best-formatted Twitter search engines around. You can easily find tweets about your brand, and it even has possibilities as a prospecting tool, as well. In a quick search for “Orlando apartment,” the second and fourth tweets are both from users looking for apartments.

Hahlo.comIf you’re surfing mobile on an iPhone, try Hahlo. Hahlo is a great site that combines features from Twitter and Summize. In addition to the search features of Summize, you can update your Twitter directly from this site. (It works on any browser, but it’s optimized for the iPhone.) A new feature even allows you to follow tweets that are closest to your location (similar to TwitterLocal).

Don’t have time to monitor Twitter all day? (Yeah, me either…) Put your Twitter listening on auto-pilot: try setting alerts with a site like TweetBeep. I really can’t describe it any easier than the website: “Like Google Alerts for Twitter!” It’s a very effective tool for picking up all kinds of tweets — enter your brand name and a few competitors, and watch how the conversations develop. (And more importantly, find those that you should be engaging in conversations.)

Twitter is a very open site, which makes it easy for other web developers to create unique tools like these. If you’re looking for more ways to interact with the microblogging tool, check out this article over at the Online Marketing Blog and this one over at Mashable.

What are your favorite ways to listen to Twitter?

(You can find me on Twitter as @30lines.)

UPDATE: Summize has officially been acquired by Twitter. You can now access the search function at