Twingly (certainly a company to watch in this space) today announced their microblog(twitter, jaiku, etc.) search engine. While I think it is great to see more activity in this space, I can't help but be puzzled by current approaches to searching social media. We are faced with a very different type of content, with a very different ecology and yet we throw archaic interaction paradigms around it.
Take a search on the Twingly search engine for 'inauguration day". I get back a set of results with the following:
- Happy Inauguration day!
- Twitter is going to be so bogged down today. I already have been unable to see pics for 24 hours. Happy Inauguration Day everyone!
- Watching Inauguration DayLIVE on MSNBC. <3 GOBAMA 2009.
- Wish I was in DC; happy inauguration day everyone!
- Happy Inauguration Day Oregon! Where's everyone watching today?
I'm trying to figure out what I learned from this. It seems obvious to me that there is a lot to be learned from microblog data, but search is exactly the way to bury that information. I'd much rather see
- Trends: show me how these terms are changing over time
- Associations: show me aggregates of terms associated with the query
- Author information: tell me something about the distribution of demographic features of the authors.