Hmmm … please excuse the headline but that is the result of banging my head against the keyboard over this weekend’s stupid ass bitchmeme. I was going to delete it but then I figured it makes as much frikken sense as the argument over Twitter search that is going on.
It’s an argument that all the big boys are jumping in on so that tells you right away just how much of it is just plain bullshit but hey – here’s the basic premise
- Loic & Michael believe that Twitter should rank search results by the number of followers a person has – which means that some-one like me with next to no followers wouldn’t even rate showing up in search results even if I started to topic being searched for.
- Robert of course calls bullshit on this and says results should be based on a series of metadata results like re-tweets, how many favourites for that tweet (you mean people actually use favourites in Twitter?) and number of inbound links for that tweet (in other words – a Twitter Techmeme)
Of course everyone is lining up on either side of the pointless discussion as if it is the most important thing to hit the tech blogosphere in years.
Mind you this is Twitter that we are talking about here. A social media service that might not even survive the next year. A service that has no other income stream other than VC dollars keeping it afloat; but even that river has to dry up at some point.
So why is this discussion happening? Because marketers need to find away to see who is saying what about their companies – the rest of us couldn’t give a shit. For us Twitter is just a way to talk with a whole bunch of people about a whole bunch of nothing. The big argument that it is a great way for companies to reach out to people is a fallacy that Loic quite nicely pointed out in his post
Brands do pay attention and already start understanding the difference. We made the experiment with Ben Metcalfe. I started complaining that Sprint was not offering the new Blackberry (they still don’t, I want a BB Bold with worldwide unlimited data) on Twitter and minutes later a Sprint representative contacted me and offered me VIP customer service. I loved it. For the experiment, @dotben started also complaining about the same issue (and really would love a Bold too, it was true) but nothing happened for Ben. Why not? Sprint understood that I have nearly 10x the number of followers of Ben so I had to be answered immediately, even with my weird last name no one can pronounce. Ben has almost 2000 followers, I think Sprint should actually pay attention too.
The thing is Loic, Sprint couldn’t give a shit about me or anyone else that isn’t a high flyer – we have no value to them. This is why things like sponsorships on blogs like WinExtra; or even good quality ad networks don’t want anything to do with us – we’re chump change and not worth expending energy on. The same applies to Twitter.
As idealistic as Robert’s thoughts might be I do agree with him more than the others but again this will still only affect a small minority of high flyers in that ecosphere. The problem is that the blogosphere is a popularity game – hell life is a popularity game for all that matters. To think otherwise is facetious and self-serving.
Or as Frederic suggests – it’s just another case of high school on the web
There is a place for authority-based algorithms – as Dave Winer points out, these work great on Techmeme and Memeorandum – but Twitter is a different beast, even if I can’t quite put my finger on it. If ‘authority’ means ‘number of followers,’ then this seems too much like high school to me.
Right now Twitter as it lives on a VC life support system is the popular communication tool. Right now Robert and Michael are the popular bloggers that everyone wants to emulate. Today arguing over Twitter search is the popular topic. Tomorrow will see it replaced in the blink of a Techmeme moment but what won’t change is stupid arguments over inane subjects.
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