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picture-115Insttant, a startup that launched the TechCrunch50 trade show in San Francisco, creates a real-time snapshot of news by aggregating tweets, shared links and photos.

“We don’t need to rely solely on mass media,” said 18-year-old founder Joe Langevin. However, Langevin says it’s inefficient to parse through hundreds of tweets or shared items on an RSS reader or scan dozens of blogs to keep up.

Insttant tracks rising media and links, or content that people have been sharing more intensely in the last few hours. It’s also very visual, showing clouds of tags or subjects that people are publishing about. It also has some specific pages targeted to subject areas like business, where you can see a ranking of companies that are frequently mentioned.

It also measures the influence of users by looking at the number of followers they have and how often they’re retweeted or shared. You can see what content is popular in certain cities and you can drag-and-drop parts of the interface to customize it.

Judges gave the following feedback:

Robert Scoble: You’re entering a great space. But I hate using the number of followers as a metric of influence. Bill Gates has no followers, but he’s very influential for example.

Dick Costolo, Twitter: If you’re targeting marketers, then it’s great. Finding better measures of attention are the pot of gold for marketers. But it would be hard to do this in a way that caters to end users and marketers and so on.

Mike Schroepfer, Facebook: Thinks sentiment analysis is a great idea.

Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn: In order to get very interesting, you’ll need to figure out how to blend the end-user and analytics experience. Agrees with Dick.

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