Twitter Has Alzheimers

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  • Have you ever had a thought and shared it on Twitter without writing it down?
  • Had a disagreement with someone over something they tweeted?
  • Shared a link through a retweet but didn’t yourself bookmark it?
  • Forgot to note down who has shared your content a lot in the past who might deserve some reciprocation?

I can remember when Friendfeed was first introduced and one of the primary reasons to use Friendfeed was as a searchable backup of what you said on Twitter.
Unfortunately it still isn’t very good at finding every mention of one of your blog posts.

I don’t believe Twitter has the resources to come up with a better search engine than Google for their content.

As you will see in later videos, Twitter has barriers in place that actually prevent indexing.

At time of writing, Google’s indexation of tweets only goes back as far as Mid October 2009 – here are 2 searches on tweets from that period.
Example 1
Example 2
Go back to the beginning of October and valuable tweets aren’t even picked up on my personal Blogcatalog pages, but they still appear on tag pages for long-tail terms.
Example 3

I am glad my content gets syndicated (with permission) by Blogcatalog, otherwise it wouldn’t exist any more.

It is not just Blogcatalog – here is one only Favstar remembers

10 Tips to Optimise your LinkedIn Profile

I am going to give my Andy Beard profile there a boost with a link as otherwise content might get lost.

My 7 Day Ultimatum to Twitter is deadly serious – many people effectively use Twitter as their only sharing/bookmarking service.

On a daily basis I find myself searching Gmail often for information from 4 years ago – Gmail has never failed me, and one of the advantages of Google Buzz (my profile), despite the “noise” (mainly from tweets & Friendfeed cross syndication) is that any contribution you make will be findable a year from now.

Here is a link to any conversation for this post on Buzz

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  1. says

    Over and above what you are pulling out hre Andy, I am really annoyed to lose hundreds of DMs without warning. If you look at your DM count, you will notice twitter has started purging these.

    I used my DM count as a measure of my interactivity between people above the normal open tweet…

    • says

      I purged a whole load on my DMs maybe a year ago because it was so full of the auto DMs that I missed lots of real ones – I then opted out of auto DMs with and since then my DMs have been fairly quiet, though that goes in spurts and probably is partially due to my reduced blogging and my preference to email or IM for personal contact.
      I search back through 4+ years of IM activity frequently too, though I don’t have my ICQ messages from 10+ years ago.

      I still have a backup somewhere of all emails since 1997 and 1000s of contacts from when I was in the games industry.

  2. says

    Andy my knowledge around links followed/no followed etc and all the impacts of what Twitter are up to is somewhat limited. I’m really trying to understand it though and I’ve been following a bit of the conversation on your Google Buzz chat. I hadn’t bothered with Buzz but you got me to at least view what it looks like. ;)

    I’ve always found Twitter’s search, whether it be today’s tweets or a week ago, to be so limiting I don’t even bother. Yes they do indeed have Alzheimers!

  3. says

    I think part of the issue surrounding this is that Twitter was never designed as a bookmarking service or to be used as one. It was initially just a communications platform, just a means to keep up with people and share information. It was never meant to be system to archive your conversations and bookmarks.

    Even since the early days of Twitter it has always been said that if you want a permanent record of anything on Twitter you need to import your content elsewhere.

    • says

      I would agree with that if they weren’t taking deliberate steps to actually prevent indexation and then using that as leverage to get the search engines to pay for access.

      At the same time they are quite happy to show inept displays of PageRank sculpting, have indexed search results pages, and think links to the people I keep closest contact with have no value, yet links to autofollowers and spammers are fine.

      In many ways whatever juice my profile recceives is being used to rank spam profiles not my content.

      All my communications platforms other than Twitter have a way to search that communication – some better than others

  4. says

    You bring some good points to light Andy. And I’m one of the people who used Twitter to share information not recorded elsewhere and unable to find it right now.

    I think that Twitter perhaps has grown faster then anticipated and failed to plan for it, hence all the problems. I guess popularity can kill :-)

  5. S.D. says

    Your article title caught my eye. Was actually looking for a tweet that someone sent me about a new documentary on Alzheimer’s and the creative arts. Couldn’t find it in twitter..somepople tweet too much, hard to find stuff….agggh. Though found link on youtube if anyone interested in the topic.

  6. says

    I know that tweets show up in google which is cool if you tweet a lot but now that yahoo has partnered with twitter. The search results in yahoo will include tweets now too… so maybe yahoo will show more of your tweets soon? hopefully? we’ll see I guess.

    Either way it’s cool because when you are tweeting you are networking marketing and getting ranked (at times) so that’s pretty valuable!

    Thanks for the vid Andy!

    David King

  7. says

    Reading this post nagged me about something I’ve been meaning to do for a while: back in October I wrote this post which basically archived a spontaneous conversation on twitter between a few SEOs. At the time I used a service called Tweetpaste which embeds the tweets themselves within the post. Was a great idea at the time (it saved me screengrabbing craploads of tweets for one thing) but I realised these didnt have a very long shelf life and have been meaning to hardcode them into the post.

    I remembered I hadn’t done so when I read this – but I’m too late, all those tweets are gone now, and the post is pretty useless now. I remember reading one of the twitter founders saying they do keep tweet archives for longer, they just dont make them available publicy yet. I really hope they do sometime soon! :(

  8. says

    I always have to lookup what people have said to me in the past and vice versa. Documentation is now a daily part of our lives. Twitter will catch up and improve I hope, or else I’ll stop following.

  9. says

    Well for me I think twitter was not meant to be used as a form or tool in promoting one’s site. It’s a social networking site to which you update your friends on what you’re doing or up to.

      • says

        What do you mean? I’m saying that It’s a social networking site to which you update your friends on what you’re doing or up to.

        • says

          My readers run businesses, I run a business

          My Twitter account is under my own name, but connected to my blog, thus part of my business.

          My database of email correspondence goes back over 10 years, just 4-5 years within gmail, 5+ years of Skype etc

          Twitter, at least through a Google search only goes back 6 months or less, and that is mainly through luck, and not comprehensive

          They deliberately block tweets from normal indexing and their own search it would be giving it a complement calling it inadequate.. in many ways it is deliberately crippled.

          When I get some time my next post in this series will question why my content is being held to ransom.

  10. says

    I don’t like twitter lot. But i think it’s a good way of link back or to increase the followings and followers, as you can immediately tweets on it and it can be shared with others at the moment you have tweeted. I disagree with some members who have called twitter as a bookmarking site. t’s just a sharing of ideas.

    • says

      I use twitter simply as a “blast” tool for mass marketing. While it would be nice to have twitter index your past conversations, I see it simply as being a tool to use (business or personal) for “notifying” people you have something interesting on another marketing tool (FB, blog, etc). It may be a good thing it doesn’t fully index things as in 30 years from now, the potential president of the United States may have to answer his “I so g0t wasted last night and hooked up with my econ professor” tweet.

      While for SEO purposes it would be beneficial to store it, I think there are better tools out there to deliver your message above or outside of “twitter noise”.

  11. says

    I’d have to say that it’s pretty ridiculous that Twitter prevents indexing in this manner. It is a seemingly smart business decision in that Twitter now has control over search information. You need to go to their site to find what you are looking for. Still, I think the public is a huge loss because of this. Twitter is also a great tool to give your friends instant updates accounting for where you were at, what you were thinking, your ideas at the time, and much more. It’s a shame that this great way to chronicle your life, is not widely accessible. The internet is a public realm. I think that people should have the ability to decide if their content gets indexed or not. Thanks for raising relevant questions.

  12. says

    People can try to rationalize any way that they want, but at the end of the day any website blocking Google (and other search engines) from indexing pages is nothing but dumb long term, unless you’re planning to be the next Facebook, in which case we’re still waiting for a search engine that finds anything other then your friends if you start typing their name. Short term this type of strategy might be sound to drive more traffic to your site, but long term it’s just crazy.