Twitter Search is Going 2.0

twittersearch3Twitter Search is one of the most critical tools in my research arsenal.  At times, it’s much more useful than the mighty Google, especially when it comes to checking the pulse of a developing story or trend.

But it’s often difficult to wade through the deluge of tweets generated by a Twitter Search and make sense of the chatter.

That could be changing soon.

CNET’s Rafe Needleman, among others, recently spoke to Twitter’s Santosh Jayaram, the new VP of operations, and reported yesterday on two pending Twitter Search features that could make the tool much more useful:

…Twitter Search, which currently searches only the text of Twitter posts, will soon begin to crawl the links included in tweets and begin to index the content of those pages.


Twitter Search will also get a “reputation” ranking system soon, Jayaram told me. When you do a search on a “trending” topic–a topic that is so big it gets its own link in the sidebar–Twitter will take into account the reputation of the person who wrote each tweet and rank the search results in part based on that.

No word on when these new features will go live. In the meantime, this begs a few questions:

  • When Twitter starts indexing URLs, how will Google respond?
  • How will Twitter Search determine the “reputation” of a user? By their number of followers or retweets? Needleman reports the decision is still in the works, but it’ll be interesting to see if users find ways to game the system.
  • Since Twitter plans to index links, will the new search also include a tool similar to Backtype Connect, which tracks the Twitter conversation around any given link? (A very useful tool for PR, by the way.)

What do you think? What will happen when Twitter Search goes 2.0?


Oh Noes! RSS FWD shuts down

Apparently I missed the memo on this, since post is dated Jan. 29, but I was still being sent emails from my RSS feeds so I wasn’t aware of the change: upon heading to today to add a new feed (FT Tech Blog), I was re-directed to RSS FWD’s blog (WordPress, our old EOD theme!), which said they were shutting down. Anyone have some cash around willing to perk them back up?? ;-)

More realistically – does anyone know of a similar offering that I can use in its place? (Essentially, creating a list of blogs’ RSS feeds to be pushed to your email inbox?)


We like Tiny things – TinyChat

During our New Media call today, we conducted an experiment in Tinychat, a new (I think) Web-based chat service. If you weren’t there, you missed out. (Just kidding).


What is TinyChat? It’s a quick, easy and seemingly an efficient way to quickly join a group of people together for a chat session. It takes less than 5 seconds to generate a tiny URL once you go to the site and that link can then be shared via email (or Twitter or Facebook – choose your own adventure) to your intended chat mates. Efficient, right? Easy, right? Yep. We had a nice chat during the new media call about food, which left me hungry for lunch.

This is perfect for a work scenario, especially for a company such as ours where we are spread across the country/the globe. 

I found this tool on Twitter this week, as I saw @laughingsquid had posted a TinyChat URL inviting people to “break TinyChat”, aiming for 100 chatters – I joined then left after the ticker teetered around 80 participants for 5 minutes. Too much chaos with that many folks in the room, but was a useful experiment in its own right. 


For all its usefulness, though, I do have a few concerns:

  1. Apparently, you can’t “kill” the link when you are done. If I click the link after leaving the chat, I enter the same chat room and others could still be there, too. This gets weird if you post the URL on your Twitter feed where anyone can join. Talk about lurkers…
  2. Speaking of Twitter – please note if you choose to log in with your Twitter ID (optional), TinyChat posts a tweet that tells your followers “come chat with me” and links to the room. This would allow anyone following you on Twitter to join your chat. Not good if talking work and a reporter or your client pop in for a chat.
  3. Privacy is non-existent. While the site claims “these chat rooms are disposable” and after you close the window you can no longer view the previous chat (unless you save the log), I’m not sure there’s a way to make a totally private chat (though you can privately message one other person in the room by clicking their name then typing your message).

So – I think this is a useful service, but as with any online communications, please be wary of who you invite, how you invite them and what you say.