We Don’t Need Authority on Twitter
There is an interesting discussion about Twitter search on Techmeme right now, but as much as I would like to see some innovative Twitter search, the proposed solution of creating an authority-based system feels completely wrong to me.
One of the great features of new social services like Twitter and Friendfeed is that they are completely democratic. When I put a hashtag in a tweet, people will see it. If I like an item on Friendfeed, it will bubble up to the top. It doesn’t matter if I’m a newbie or have more than 500 (or 15.000) followers.
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.
Instead, I would love to have the option to see results from my own friends (or those who I have communicated with through @replies) bubble up to the top. I’m sure, just like the authority search, some third-party developer is already working on this. Twitter itself should rather use its energy to stabilize its core functions and work on a comment feature.