Why Does Real Time Always Equate to Twitter?

I think Google’s introduction of real time search results is interesting and potentially a step forward in the web search experience.  If, for example, I want to search for the latest development in Tiger Woods’ utter and complete implosion, it would be fun to sit back and watch the stories- and new alleged mistresses-  float by.  In an ideal world, a real time Google search would be like an instantaneous Google Alert, notifying me close to immediately if an article or blog post is published on a topic I am interested in.

What I totally and completely do not get is why whenever people talk about real time, the next word you hear is Twitter. . .


Twitter-Logo-150x150First of all, the large majority of substantive Twitter posts are links to other content.  That has been posted somewhere else.  Already.  So by definition and math, much of what is posted on Twitter is not only not real time.  It’s after the fact.  Wouldn’t it be better to talk about real time results from the actual source of the content?

Secondly, does anyone without skin in the game really- I mean really– think Twitter is all that informative?  To index and serve search results of Twitter posts, in real time or otherwise, is like recording elevator conversations and calling them feature films.  I search Twitter from time to time to see who’s talking about topics that interest me (alt. country music, my hometown, etc.).  80% of the results are spam, 15% are other nonsense, 4.9% are things I’ve already seen and .1% are things that might interest me.  That’s a really bad success ratio, particularly compared to a regular old Google search that generally gives me relevant results.  Or used to.

In sum, there is almost nothing that originates on Twitter that I’d want to see in my search results, real time or otherwise.

Compared to MySpace, however, Twitter is like the New York Times.  The fact that Google includes MySpace in any search results makes me actually pull for Bing.  Or maybe not.

Seriously, who decided this was a good thing?  I feel like everyone talking about this dropped acid while I was chugging Red Bull.

2 thoughts on “Why Does Real Time Always Equate to Twitter?

  1. Actually, there have been quite a number of stories broken on Twitter. The best example I can think of is when the plane crashed in the Hudson. The first on the scene was a ferry that stopped to render assistance. One of the ferry passengers posted information and even pics of the downed plane on Twitter before it had even hit the cable news networks. Additionally, it is not uncommon for sports writers to post things during games before they make it even on air – injury status reports, etc – or for entertainers to release information to fans on Twitter before it gets into the mainstream news.Getting to your point about Twitter posting links to stories, that may be true, but, at the very least, it SPREADS that news MUCH more quickly than could be done through any of the other media outlets including Google because of the real time conversational nature of Twitter.The fact is that Twitter has changed the way we find out about news and how it is reported. That's just a fact.

  2. Jeff, that Hudson story is the best example of Twitter as an actual news-breaker, but that's the exception not the rule. Additionally, I bet the large majority of people who saw the story first on Twitter immediately turned on CNN to follow the story- that's what I did with the idiotic-parents-Colorado-balloon story. I do agree that Twitter is good at spreading news. I'd just rather Google focus on getting the news faster from the CNNs and Mashables of the world, as opposed to Twitter and (ugh) MySpace.

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