Another reality check for the “real time search” idea.
At the South By Southwest geekfest this week, CNET’s Dan Terdiman reports that trying to find anything useful out of Twitter search with the standard #sxsw hash tag has been almost impossible.
This year because of the conference’s impressive growth and Twitter’s broader mainstream appeal, it has become almost impossible to find the same value as in the past. I did a search for the “#sxsw” tag on Saturday afternoon and found that there had been 392 tweets with the term in just the previous 10 minutes. That number mushroomed to more than 1,500 in the previous hour.
While those numbers demonstrate that people here are without question using Twitter like never before, it also means that it’s never been harder to find what you’re looking for amid the flood of posts about the panels, barbecue, Web celebrity spottings, and deep thoughts about social media.
Everyone is still using Twitter, of course, they’re just having to get more clever and add semiotic depth to their tags, like #sxswbbq.
But the #sxsw problem raises an interesting issue for real time search: If the firehose of information is already unmanageable, how will anyone make sense of anything if Twitter becomes as big as Facebook?