Maybe I’m just out of it having enjoyed the holidays too much, or maybe I’m just being extraordinarily naive. In any regard this entire discussion about Twitter needing some sort of authority measuring stick for search seems a bit silly.
Loic Le Meur brought it up and of course the heavyweights are weighing in with their views. Loic stirred a pot with his plantation-like thinking about equality. He says:
We need filtering and search by authority. We're not equal on Twitter, as we're not equal on blogs and on the web. I am not saying someone who has more followers than yourself matters more, but what he says has a tendency to spread much faster.
Sarah Lacy calls that anti-web thinking, and as true as that might indeed be, behind Loic’s point lies an essence that is also true, brazen and elitist though it may be.
Here’s why I think this isn’t such a big deal. Anyone who follow the tech game or Web 2.0, or whatever it is going to evolve into in its next iteration, follows everyone they think matters anyway. And given that the blogosphere/twittersphere/carnivalsphere dredges up the echo chamber meme about every sixty days or so means that everybody is talking about the same thing anyway. So what would an authority weighted search yield but the same stuff we currently find. My hunch is it would only yield another ranking service or mechanism destined to fail as soon as someone declares it is broken.
So, lets’ move away from the tech world and look at Twitter as it relates to non-tech topics. Pick one, flood, famine, pestilence, war, it doesn’t matter. Is anyone really going to check out the rank of someone who tweets a disaster or big news story before passing it on? I don’t think so. Are we really going to pay more attention to a highly followed Twitterer over someone at the source, (i.e. the recent plane crash)?
Scoble lists some metadata he thinks is more important than the number of followers someone has, and his point about who you follow versus who follows you makes a lot of sense, but that’s not the end of the story.
While who delivers the info can be as important as the info itself, in the long run it matters not. Authority comes and goes. As Shakespeare said:
But man, proud man,
Dressed in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he’s most assured,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As makes the angels weep.
Measure for Measure act 2, sc. 2