Sunday 10 February 2013

Twitter - the new search leader?

I found that the way I use the internet has changed because of Twitter.

The other day, I received a phone call from Empire Magazine. Sadly, they weren’t reporting on a million-pound battle over the rights to Magic Falls, but were calling to try to convince me to re-subscribe. (I used to read every movie magazine that I could, but I’ve stopped now. They can’t compete with online information with regards to the latest news, and I began to feel more and more like I was reading the same information in each magazine, and at times the same interviews. In the end, I was buying them but not reading them, which is madness.)

The chap on the phone was very pleasant, and while I didn’t take him up on the offer of an issue for just one pound, I did at least feel a little bad about doing so. But I also found it a slightly odd call to receive, so I checked the internet to see if anyone else had experienced that.

Now, here’s the thing. I didn’t check Google. I checked Twitter.

That’s not necessarily a new thing, and it’s certainly not a unique thing. But it’s the first time that it’s dawned on me that I’m more likely to do that than I am to check online.

Time was, I would look for information like that, and would assume that it would have been posted about in a blog or a forum. But now, I assume that people tweet about it.

If I find out about a news story nowadays, I find out about it on Twitter. If I look for information about a breaking story, I don’t check Google News as much any more. I check Twitter.

Actually, I still check Google News, if it’s a breaking story, but that’s a secondary check. It’s about looking for the confirmation. Somewhat like checking BBC News after you check Sky News, to see if the story was actually right.

It’s become about differentiating between informational searches and current searches. If I’m looking to find out reactions, or breaking news, I’m more likely to check Twitter.

This may be something that is only new to me, and everyone else picked up on this ages ago, but I didn’t think about Twitter being search based. And yet, I find myself checking there before Google.

This, I think, means Twitter is doing something very right that I didn’t even notice. I like that.

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