Twitter has oodles of data – millions of tweets a day. They have smart people working on this data, and they make all the right noises about social search. However, I’m looking at the trending topics on the site just now and I see these: MJ’s, Rip MJ, RIP Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, #iranelection, Pop, Thriller, MTV, Iran, #michaeljackson.
I don’t get it. There are a number of problems here:
- These aren’t topics, they are words or phrases. There are only 4 topics present here (Michael Jackson’s death, Farrah Fawcett’s death, the Iranian Election and MTV).
- The ‘phrases’ present in the terms are pretty lame: ‘MJ’s’? Earlier today the phrase ‘Did Michael Jackson’ was a trending topic.
- There is no attempt at normalization (RIP MJ == RIP Michael Jackson)
- They actually are not at all interesting – anyone out there not know about Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett or Iran? Perhaps the MTV thing is a little more obscure.
- They aren’t trending – ok, the RIP stories are, but the Iranian election? that’s been top of mind for many days now.
Twitter’s featuring of these topics and the immaturity of the technology in spite of the promise of the data does not paint a good picture for their prospects.