As soon as something newsworthy (or not in some cases) takes
place, Twitter will have covered it. One of its
200 million users will have tweeted about it. And then it
begins. The retweets, the unanswered questions, the conversations,
the hash tags and the arguments over opinion. It doesn't take long
before the item is trending. But just as quickly as it all started,
the trend can be gone. New events will have taken place and
something else will be the topic for discussion.
Where am I going with this you might ask?
Well, Twitter recently announced improvements to its search
capabilities that could have a huge impact on breaking news.
Twitter knows what terms and topics are popular but it hasn't
previously known what they mean - this is something its algorithms
alone can't answer and so Twitter has come up with a solution. It's
built in a 'real-time human computation' engine to help identify
search queries as soon as they're trending and make sense of
Twitter firstly monitors what search queries are currently most
popular. This could be anything -
we've all seen the ridiculous things that can trend on Twitter (NO
JOKE: Justin Bieber
is trending as I type. Give me strength). Then when a new popular
search query is identified it is sent to Twitter's human evaluators
who are asked a number of questions about the query - their job is
to make the trending topic more relevant to readers. After an
evaluator responds to the query with additional insight,
information is pushed out so that the next time a user searches the
query this information is utilised with relevant ads, tweets and
topical news. This will help piece the query together and provide a
more relevant and up-to-date story of the trending subject.
What does this mean?
It means that Twitter could potentially have the upper hand on
breaking news stories. I am increasingly turning to Twitter to find
out the latest on celebrity
gossip. The items that appear from a Google search can be outdated;
whereas I know I'll find the most up to date information on
Twitter. The only issue I have with Twitter is if the insight is
trustworthy. I know if I read an article on The Times or
The Telegraph I can take the information and know that it's
come from a trustworthy source. However, Twitter's new search
capabilities will make search queries more relevant and easier to
determine how truthful the information is.
What are your thoughts? Do you turn to Twitter to search for