This article was published on July 7, 2010

Has Twitter become the king of topical search?

Has Twitter become the king of topical search?

A story of numbers over at VentureBeat might just be more telling than we’d all once thought.  Twitter Search activity, it seems, is up 33% since April.  That takes the function to a solid 800 million queries per day.

Now, let’s not get crazy.  Twitter isn’t going to overtake Google, or even Facebook search, anytime soon.  But what these numbers do tell us is about how people search for suddenly-popular topics.

Years ago, when I worked in radio, there was a saying: See it tonight, read about it tomorrow or hear about it right now.  At the time, the Internet was just starting to be seen as a viable news source for people.  We still primarily turned to the radio to hear about breaking stories.  TV and print were great, for the follow-up, but took too long to happen.

It seems that, for today’s Internet-savvy society, Twitter has become the breaking story venue of choice.

Honestly, it’s no surprise.  Trending Topics are a function of Twitter that have played an important role in the service since the earliest of its days.  The recent addition of the ability to narrow your trends down to local areas has made it an even more relevant option for finding news as it happens.  But deeper than the trends, and long before they ever happen, you’ll find interesting tidbits via Twitter Search.

This realization about the importance of Twitter Search, however, only underscores the issues that we’ve had in the recent past with the service.  If you’re going to bill yourself as a business and you’re basing revenue off of traffic through your site, then you need to be able to support that traffic.

Moving forward, Twitter still has growing pains.  However, with numbers like this, it’s far beyond time to have something in place to handle them. All that aside, I’m going to head our onto a limb and say “wither Google”, when the world is looking for immediate information about what’s happening now.