Abby Johnson: This is Abby Johnson with WebProNews and we’re in Seattle, Washington covering SMX Advanced. Joining me right now is Michael Gray of Atlas Web Service and we’re going to talk about Twitter, specifically searcher behavior on Twitter. It’s changed a lot, especially over the past year. So talk about Twitter being used as a search engine and what exactly that means and what you’re seeing for the future.
Michael Gray: They bought another search engine, Surmise. And now they brought it kind of in house and they’re trying to do a lot of different things with it. One of the more interesting things is they are trying to look at some of the hash tags and some of the terms that people are searching for and automatically figure out what are the popular terms so that other people might be doing it. And a lot of people are using it in a lot of different ways. There are some problems with it. Twitter’s reliability is a little sketchy sometimes but it has gotten better. But the search, they’re trying to claim it’s real time and it doesn’t always work that way. Sometime it’s a couple of hours behind for what it actually is so you’ve got to kind of be careful if you’re looking for real real time results. But it’s an interesting little search engine that kind of gives you the pulse of what’s going on now. I don’t know that anybody’s ever going to use it to say, “Hey I need to find a good thing” because they’re just going to go search on Google. But if someone’s looking at a hotel and saying, “Hm, maybe these three hotels” if they have a lot of followers or their followers might know. They could say, “Hey, you know I’ve never actually stayed here and is it a good thing or not?” Or looking for a computer or that type of thing. I don’t know that it’s going to completely replace Google but it’s definitely going to augment some of what’s going on out there.
Abby Johnson: So you said that it’s not really a threat but how do you think that the search engines are reacting to this?
Michael Gray: I know Google is talking with Twitter a lot and they’re trying to get a direct feed into there. The way Twitter’s changed their interface, it’s really hard to crawl through someone’s twitts especially if you get someone who’s a high-volume twitter, they tweet out a lot. So they’re trying to get some way so that they can get a lot of that information in. and there’s definitely some information in there that Google would like. Everybody always says Twitter’s all about their cat posts, but there’s definitely some information out there that has some value for a search engine.
Abby Johnson: All right. Great stuff. So I guess basically we just have to keep posted and see what happens?
Michael Gray: Yep. Another thing you’ve really got to pay attention to is for companies that are on Twitter. If you have a profile, you know, if you have a reputation manager problem, Twitter’s a really really easy way for you to control that so you can kind of in normal search. But if say you’ve got a profile and you’re not a company you say, “You know what, it’s not for us. We’re a very conservative company,” other people are going to start showing up for your company name and your terms. If they’re typing it in you know, “This pizza place was great. This pizza place sucked.” But if you’re not using it, you’ve kind of left that open to chance. So even if you’ve got an account, just fill it in with some little basic stuff so that you can control your domain. It’s important for people to do that.