free html hit counter Super Fresh | John Battelle's Search Blog

Super Fresh

By - June 04, 2009

Steven Johnson has written for Time what I wish I had the time to write:

Skeptics might wonder just how much subversion and wit is conveyable via 140-character updates. But in recent months Twitter users have begun to find a route around that limitation by employing Twitter as a pointing device instead of a communications channel: sharing links to longer articles, discussions, posts, videos — anything that lives behind a URL. Websites that once saw their traffic dominated by Google search queries are seeing a growing number of new visitors coming from “passed links” at social networks like Twitter and Facebook. This is what the naysayers fail to understand: it’s just as easy to use Twitter to spread the word about a brilliant 10,000-word New Yorker article as it is to spread the word about your Lucky Charms habit.

Put those three elements together — social networks, live searching and link-sharing — and you have a cocktail that poses what may amount to the most interesting alternative to Google’s near monopoly in searching. At its heart, Google’s system is built around the slow, anonymous accumulation of authority: pages rise to the top of Google’s search results according to, in part, how many links point to them, which tends to favor older pages that have had time to build an audience. That’s a fantastic solution for finding high-quality needles in the immense, spam-plagued haystack that is the contemporary Web. But it’s not a particularly useful solution for finding out what people are saying right now, the in-the-moment conversation that industry pioneer John Battelle calls the “super fresh” Web.


Thanks for the call out, Steven, and the pointer, Fred, and the original idea, Yusuf (Medhi, at Microsoft, who really should get the credit for the term).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • JG

    But in recent months Twitter users have begun to find a route around that limitation by employing Twitter as a pointing device instead of a communications channel: sharing links to longer articles, discussions, posts, videos — anything that lives behind a URL.

    I’ve noticed this as well. Twitter really isn’t about communication. It feels more like a mashup between Digg and Facebook, i.e. Digg on top of your personal social network.

    Put those three elements together — social networks, live searching and link-sharing — and you have a cocktail that poses what may amount to the most interesting alternative to Google’s near monopoly in searching.

    I don’t know if I quite agree here. From the website owner’s perspective, yes, it appears to be that Twitter is becoming better than Google at driving traffic. The website owner doesn’t care how people get there; only that they do.

    But I’m all about the user. And from the user’s perspective, Twitter and Google are still diametrically opposed. Why? Because Google is all about “pull” information seeking, and Twitter is all about “push” information seeking.

    When you come to Google, you come because you’re specifically looking for something. You’re not looking just to poke around. But when you come to Twitter, you come to browse, and to be shown something you hadn’t even thought to look for, much less known how to use the right query terms, even if you did think to look for it.

    So from the user’s perspective, I don’t see Twitter competing with Google at all. Twitter and Google represent completely different information seeking behaviors and dynamics, neither of which are going away any time soon.

  • http://www.technologyprofessional.org Jan

    think link building is the best way in putting a website in the first page in google and of course a well research article is what keeps the readers keep coming. Thanks for sharing the article.

  • http://twitter.com/egoldstein Eric

    I couldn’t agree more. if you go back to an email exchange you and i had a few years ago, it’s what i tried to outline as my vision for clipmarks.com in regards to a real time search alternative powered by people. unfortunately for us, we never did as good a job as twitter in developing the social networking aspect of the user experience. we’re now working on a new service at amplify.com that aims to provide our clipping and sharing capability for users of twitter. still very much a work in process, but coming along nicely.

  • Sean

    Wouldn’t Yusuf call this “live” search?

  • Sean

    Wouldn’t Yusuf call this “live” search?

  • http://www.freecontactlists.com samuel

    Twitter as a pointer has dawned on a lot of us. So, you still need a great site… but you can do an end run around Google.

    However, your web traffic better be highly leveraged because Twitter is time consuming. It’s a tough model to work for low price point stuff.