The power of search and why Twitter needs a wicked upgrade

The other day, as I was researching an article on why retailers should install wifi in store, I was trying to find the source of an old tweet:

Wow @jcpenney cheap ass got rid of the wifi… Expecting chains on doors at some point next yr.

I took the exact text and put it into the search bar on Twitter (within Twitter.com).

What did I find?

I was disappointed. Granted the tweet was posted all the way back in September 2013 (10 months ago) and it only achieved one retweet. However, you would think that searching via Twitter, they might come up with the goods? Then, I did the inevitable Google search. Here is what Google provided me:

JCPenney The power of search - myndset digital strategyI immediately found the original tweet from @themisfit07 (as well as a reference to her tweet in Buzzfeed).

The power of search according to Google

The good news is that your social stream will remain relevant via Google’s impressive search engine. The bad news is that the half-life of your Tweets in Twitter is likely to be half as long. It seems that Twitter’s search engine will find entire Tweets, but that the date of entry seems to have a bearing on the lifespan’s decay. Google shows that social search is alive and kicking. Moreover, when you search in Twitter for tweets in other languages, the results are even worse. A popular tweet from my friend @Odile_Roujol (in French) that was posted recently doesn’t show up in Twitter’s search, while it faithfully appears in Google. This particular tweet (see below) was sent just two weeks ago and was retweeted ten times (as of today). You would have thought Twitter would want this to be findable?

Power of Search in French - myndset digital strategy

Their search is so bad, you would imagine that Twitter might be trying purposefully to hide tweets! {Tweet this!}. My conclusion: Twitter has not grasped the power of search.

6 thoughts on “The power of search and why Twitter needs a wicked upgrade

  1. Sadly, your experience is far from rare, and there have been lots of complaints/concerns about searching on Twitter.

    Unfortunately it’s (in part at least) broken by design — “In order to keep your search results relevant, Twitter filters search results for quality Tweets and accounts. Material that jeopardizes search quality or creates a bad search experience for other users may be automatically removed from Twitter Search.”

    Even without that there are cases that have serious limitations — “Are you using Twitter on your mobile device? Twitter on mobile does not include the option to display AllTweets in search results. Mobile search results will only show top Tweets and Tweets from people you follow.”

    https://support.twitter.com/articles/42646-twitter-search-rules-and-restrictions
    https://support.twitter.com/articles/66018-i-m-missing-from-search

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