Twitter & Search

I will be attending SES 2009 {Search Engine Strategies} the week of March 24th in New York.  I just checked the exhibitor list and I see that Twitter is not listed.  That really surprises me because I am pretty well convinced that they are about to disrupt the entire search market.

It’s estimated that Twitter has about 10M users, 8M of which are in the US.  Expectations are that number will grow to about 50M by the end of the year.  That’s huge.  Twitter is really getting a lot of PR these days with many of our politicians using it, plus a reasonable amount of adoption by the Television media folks. It’s works really well for getting breaking news to be sure.

I have been spending some time monitoring Twitter and Twitter Search, among other things.  Twitter Search is really interesting from a results perspective.  I have found that one of the easiest ways to review results is to just put the term into Twitter Search and then pickup the RSS feed off the page and add it to your Google Reader page.  That simple.

When I do that I can review tweets for an entire day on a particular subject.  It is pretty easy from this view to pick up on trends, plus there are tools put there that allow you to do trend analysis.   That’s kind of interesting but not nearly the most interesting aspect of Twitter Search for me.

To compare and contrast, let’s strp back for a minute and look at Google Search which we’ve all been using for years.  When you search Google on a keyword or keyword phrase, you may get 100,000 hits.  So what?  Does anyone really look beyond the first couple of pages?  Not much!  So if what you’re looking for doesn’t come up within the first 50 “hits” [20 more likely], it may as well not even exist.

There are those of you who will point out that if you’re a Google power user and know how to do it you can find just about anything.  I’m sure that’s true but how many people will put in some exhaustive algorithm when they’re looking for something?  I’ll bet that number is somewhere around .00001% of the searches.  About as meaningful as the 100,000 results in teh 1st example.

So now we have Twitter.  You do a search there you get results of people tweeting about things they’ve done and sites they are actually using.  People are smart and resourceful. Collectively they are aware of quite a bit and use or access quite a few things that Google’s algorithm doesn’t likely consider significant.

I have been really blown away by all of the useful information and resources I have come across since beginning to monitor Twitter.  The other aspect that is really cool is you can ask for help, resources, or information.  People are incredibly selfless and helpful.

You can’t get that from Google.

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