Social networking phenomenon site Twitter has done nothing to quell the talk, debate and blogs about their service with the unveiling of the site’s new homepage. Whilst there can be little argument about the success of Twitter, the popularity of which has grown by an exponential rate over the past 12 months, I’m not sure Twitter has got this update 100% right.
The aforementioned new homepage has been completely remodelled to focus on search – encouraging tweeple, and even visitors who are not signed up to use the service, to ‘See what people are saying about…’ particular keywords.
The debate on whether Twitter is to be considered a threat to Google and traditional ‘search engines’ is a future post, which I’m sure another of the I-COM bloggers will take the challenge to write about, I’m more interested in the prominence of trending topics as now displayed on the site. The homepage of Twitter now shows popular keywords being tweeted by the minute, day and week – allowing you to click on these to see what people are saying.
Whilst trending topics have been available to view for a few months now, they were only available to view on a user's homepage after they have logged in. And even then, it was only displayed as a short list. The updated version of the site now displays c. 24 trending topics as soon as you hit the homepage.
Rather than having any real use for private users (are we really interested in what Twitter users around the world have to say about ‘Goodnight’??!) surely all this feature does is leave the service open to abuse by spammers and people trying to promote spurious products and services.
For example, if you look at the results for popular topic of the minute, day and week ‘AT&T’, the top 4 results are tweets from the same spammer –
If you read @Shela4118’s tweets, they all link to spurious urls and shamelessly include ‘AT&T harry potter’ at the end of each post.
Whilst tweeple around the world are undoubtedly posting interesting reviews on the latest Harry Potter film and excited comments about the return of Michael Schumacher to F1, the tweets as those from@Shela4118 are enough to make me want to avoid what people are saying about trending topics. And it’s the best argument as far as I’m concerned to keep the character limit of Twitter to 140. Otherwise, this post could have been ‘Harry Potter and the #iran election – Adrian Lambert, Jay-Z and Michael Schumacher follow Friday music monday as Apple claims new mercury blue M&M’s. Goodnight’. Yawn.