Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Is Twitter the Next Great Search Engine??

I'm going to start this post off with a little story.

Today I was doing some research for ideas for an Online PR class that I'm helping my course director put together. While looking for some informative links to show him I came across a problem. I was looking for SMRs (Social Media Releases) to show my prof how different they are from old skool regular news releases. When I googled (do you capitalize that if it's being used as a verb?) "social media release" the top four hits were blogs and articles of peoples advice on how they think a social media release should look. Semi-helpful, but not what I was looking for.

I decided to try a different approach. Since I know that a lot of my Twitter friends work in and around marketing and PR, I decided to throw my query out to them. Within five minutes of me posting my question on Twitter I recieved six responses. Four of them were people on my list of friends with links and/or recommendations of people to talk to. The other two responses were from professionals who deal specifically with SMRs. One from Canadian News Wire (CNW) and the other from Marketwire, who each directed me to examples on their sites.

I don't know about you, but I find stuff like that incredible.

It also made me start thinking, is Twitter the next great search engine? Let's think about it for a minute...

- I was looking for useful information, and people I actually know were able to make recommendations on where to find this info. If you can't trust your friends, who can you trust?

- Professionals from all kinds of companies monitor sites like Twitter to see when people mention them. I'm sure that both the representatives from Marketwire and CNW had real time searches going for key words like "SMR" or "news release" so they could respond quickly. Other companies do the same thing. They search for mentions of their companies or products and respond to the people talking about them. I remember one time a friend had a problem with UPS, tweeted about it, and a few minutes later a UPS representative asked her via twitter how he could help make the problem right. Meaning, you can get any kind of info directly from companies themselves.

- You can see what everyone around the world has to say about a topic. There is now a plethora (I like that word) of Twitter search engines such as Twitter Search, TweetGrid, Twitscoop, and many more. On these search engines you can type in a key word or phrase and see what anyone in the "twitterverse" is saying or linking to about that topic. This is great for finding reviews and what people are saying about products and services, or even things like movies.

These are just a few reasons off the top of my head as to why Twitter is sometimes more useful than Google for finding things.

I'd love to hear what you all think about this, but I just added a new theme to my blog and the comments section doesn't seem to be working properly. I'm trying to fix that so please be patient. You can always tweet me your thoughts at @40deuce.

*UPDATE* comments seem to be working again, so please leave one.