{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

What is Twitter? "A microblogging service" doesn't quite fit right. Maybe because that just doesn't sound as cool as Twitter.

A growing number of people are suggesting that Twitter is a search engine. As I was going through my feeds today, I came across several posts discussing just that. This is officially a meme.

Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch says "It’s Time To Start Thinking Of Twitter As A Search Engine". And BusinessWeek asks if Twitter could be "a search ad gusher?"

There's been increasing talk of late that Twitter could even be a competitor to Google. Some have suggested Google will eventually buy Twitter for that very reason. Perhaps the comment by Google CEO Eric Schmidt that Twitter is a poor man's email is some sort of negotiating tactic (sarcasm).

Whatever the case I find the suggestion that Twitter could be a search engine fascinating. There's no doubt there's a lot of information on Twitter. And it is available quickly (realtime).

But that said I've never used Twitter as a search engine per se. Maybe I'm in the minority. I still go to Google when I am looking for something.

In some sense I think the recent discussions about Twitter as a search engine might be about us wanting it to be a search engine.

Why? I don't think it's lost on everyone that Twitter isn't yet making money. And I think that concerns some people, at least subconsciously. No matter what you think about Twitter it's impossible to deny that a lot of people love it. It would be a shame to see Twitter never find a business model that could ensure its future.

It seems like everyone has ideas for how Twitter could make money but Twitter is doing its own thing, at its own pace. Is it possible that there's a desire for Twitter to be a search engine because the number one search engine (Google) is a cash cow? Freudian logic, but something I felt was worth throwing out there.

Personally I see Twitter as a cool communications tool. Some see it as a social network. Others see it as a search engine. Perhaps Twitter is one of those services that can be anything to anyone. If that's the case, it doesn't make any sense trying to classify it.

Twitter is what it is. Calling it a search engine doesn't make it one. Not calling it a search engine doesn't mean it isn't one.

Patricio Robles

Published 5 March, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2394 more posts from this author

Comments (13)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Neil Warren

Neil Warren, Publisher at 2N Media Ltd - ModernSelling.com

On the "fun" side Patricio, I thought I had "invented" Twiterature - so set up a search column in Tweetdeck, and got some answers.

With a work hat on, I then wanted to see what "selling" or "sales" might yield. Nada, zippo, nowt - unless I've done it wrong.

Be interesting to hear others experiences.

Regards - @NeilWarren

over 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Vicky Semple

As Twitter is a lot of personal information I am not sure that it could be a search engine - however you can search on topics via the Tweet Deck cloud and other aps that can prove useful. The danger is that if it becomes a search engine, the principles of Twitter as a chat, micro blog, will be obliterated for link placement... please don't its a lovely communication tool, useful, reference, and above all fun!

- Neil an ex colleague of mine twittered about his new holiday let apartment on the first day of setting up his account and got a booking from an American tourist!

over 7 years ago

Neil Warren

Neil Warren, Publisher at 2N Media Ltd - ModernSelling.com

Ah yes - correction so as not to mislead. I now see that individual words like "selling" work fine, but Tweetdeck anyway suggests that sales OR selling OR sales management should produce results - but was not, for me anyway.

over 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Tom Rowlands

I've used Twitter as an 'opinions search engine' e.g. typed in a business name to see 'what do people think about this business' or similar with news items. Couldn't see myself using for other purposes, though.

over 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

kiran

Day by day it is becoming like a serach engine.If we need any particular information we can get good no.of tweets and we can get that information.

over 7 years ago

Doug Kessler

Doug Kessler, Director at VelocitySmall Business Multi-user

Twitter is a tool.

Twitter is a forum.

Twitter is a platform.

Twitter is a medium.

Twitter is a time sink.

Twitter is a vanity micro-publisher.

But above all, Twitter is a massive fad.

When that dies down, I wonder what it will be?

over 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Matt Hardy

A buzz search engine perhaps, but not an informational one...yet.

But Twitter is changing. Having been set up to answer "What are you doing?" it is now becoming used in new ways... in many cases to point followers to interesting info, new websites or news.  In that respect, it has digg-like qualities and perhaps if Twitter can harness the opinions within it there's an opportunity to shape it into something more "useful" from a search-engine perspective.

Matt Hardy, Digital Director, The Real Adventure

over 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Brett Tabke

Twitter is chat.

The first time I connected to a BBS with my 300 baud westridge modem, I chatted with the SYSOP. That was 1984. Chat is Not a fad. Twitter is not a fad.

Twitter is the ultimate recommendation engine.

I recently bought and iPhone and can not find a sync program to sync my outlook inbox to the iPhone. Google sent me on a wild goose chase for about three hours of confusing and bad information all over the place. I asked on twitter and got dozens of responses in pm's and public within 15mins with the correct answer and excellent suggestions.

That is the difference between Community Mind Algo, and Machine CPU Algo: 3 hours of searching through wrong info or 15mins of highly relevant info that pointed me in the right direction.

over 7 years ago

Doug Kessler

Doug Kessler, Director at VelocitySmall Business Multi-user

Remember CB Radio?

@ is the "10-4 good buddy" of our times...

over 7 years ago

Neil Warren

Neil Warren, Publisher at 2N Media Ltd - ModernSelling.com

I think we've nearly got us a convoy here!

I'd mis-remembered Econsultancy was such an erudite and experienced place. And these are very useful insights and comments.

The background to what we're all about on ModernSelling.com in this social media regard is to be trying to advise sales people and sales leaders what/where/when/how/why they might be allowing or even encouraging their sales staff out into the "social" media. So then the equivalent of Vicky's friend can "sell" holiday lets and any number of the "solutions providers" and "recommenders" that Brett is encountering are, of course, selling something. 

But before we get any typical reactions like "urghhh - don't SELL me anything" which is definitely a throwback to CB radio and 8 track stereo days, don't forget that the SEO kings and AdWords are all providing selling activity, albeit with a "marketing" hat on. They're just trying to automate and de-humanise the advice/guidance.

Good sales people, usefully, correctly and in an informed and intelligent way, feeding the required details into any version of "search" or "social" media/forum chat will become just as useful to us all as your favourite travel agent, IFA (do you have one!?) or IT consultant.

over 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Ian Hendry

I am sure I am not the only one to find Eric Schmidt's comment condescending and even possibly up there with King Canute as far as denial of the inevitable erosion of the deeply flawed "search" model.

I posted on this very subject in my blog "What excatly does Google have to fear from Twitter?"

http://community.zdnet.co.uk/blog/0,1000000567,10012244o-2000561249b,00.htm

Ian Hendry

CEO, WeCanDo.BIZ

http://www.wecando.biz

over 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Sebastian Crump

A trick I just discovered is that if you put filter:links after your searchterm (separated by a space) it will only return tweets that contain links... 'socially derived' website search results!

over 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Internet Marketing

Yes twitter becomes popular now days due its easy to search your quires and find more appropriate results then any other social media.

over 7 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.