I’m noticing Twitter literacy turns out to be more and more useful to information seekers of any age and stage.  Traditional web source searchers are accustomed to retrieving timely, ready reference type of  search results,  but for more granular the on the ground updates and fine point questions, I’m seeing that twitter feeds provide the fastest and the most interactive and up to date answers to questions about things like events.  Aside from all the historic and world changing influences of Twitter’s real-time information streams, Twitter’s speedy and quality query results are racking up big points with me as a parent, a librarian and an observer of digital information landscapes.

For example – finding local fireworks and events with them – its one thing to delve and dig and click deep into the Gaylord National Harbor’s static web site to get only a tidbit mention of fireworks art activities exhibits, but quite another to hop on over to tweetland and see the twitter feed come right out and say to an existing  query – “this display of fireworks tonight is only going to last five minutes after our concert since we have regular large displays on the weekends and already had our spectacular display on June 30”.  Boom! right there just in time for us to change our plans and save gasoline and miles.

So, i’m thrilled to share this recent source of full updates and improved search features to Twitter via CMSWire and the Twitter blog:

UPDATED: Twitter Improves Search Functions

Twitter has now updated its blog with information about the full update. The new features include autocomplete to get you to your searches faster and ‘People you follow’ search results, with a drop down results menu prompting you in the right direction.

Other improvements include:

Spelling corrections: If you misspell a term, we’ll automatically show results for your intended query

Related suggestions: If you search for a topic for which people use multiple terms, we will provide relevant suggestions for terms where the majority of that conversation is happening on Twitter.

Results with real names and usernames: When you search for a name like ‘Jeremy Lin,’ you’ll see results mentioning that person’s real name and their Twitter account username.

via Twitter Teases Huge Update to Search and Discovery.

You may notice that these improvements resemble other typical web search tools – with “autocomplete”, spelling corrections with a modified query display that we have come to well, expect AND demand in our search tool features.

I’m very pleased to see that the other improvements also head in a more user friendly direction.  Love that “Related Suggestions” translates a topic that one group refers to as  #space is known as another term #finalfrontier in other trending twitter feeds.  This twittersphere translation feature has some very interesting user interface potential.  Not to mention that it attempts to solve the  “How do you know (the term) THAT which you don’t know (but others are calling #other term)” problem?

One of the turn offs of twitter for newer users is that you really seem to have to already be hardwired about interaction with usernames and topics (#hashtags) as well as a few other abbreviations.  While not super daunting to regular users, if you are doing a search and try to read and evaluate results in the search as an infrequent twitter user, it can take a little translation time and effort to make sense out of what you are seeing by the time you de-code what you are seeing in the result set.  The updated search feature that includes results with real names AND usernames is super helpful for anyone – you can be sure that you are associating the right bit of info with the right source individual.  VERY important and time saving!!

In the end, these kind of search and discovery improvements will just remain seamlessly behind the scenes and add to what we come to expect in excellent information retrieval tools, but understanding that they are now available and how they can impact the time and quality of our searching are important cultural and functional facets of our personal/family knowsaic for information retrieval literacy skills.

Advertisements