Twitter and

by Matt Mecham on July 3, 2009

in Blah, Other, Reviews

I love Twitter. Not true love like one loves their children or spouse. It’s more like the love one has for a favourite sandwich or fruit. But obnoxious similes aren’t the reason for writing. No. I’m writing because I just experienced a wonderfully prescient example of why Twitter is just so darn awesome.

I sometimes find it hard to extol Twitter’s virtues to non-believers. They usually throw out the same old complaints: “But I don’t care what you’re watching on TV or what you’re eating”; “I don’t want people knowing what I’m up to”, etc. All good reasons for not joining Facebook. But Twitter is different.

You see, the real value — the killer feature — is the real time search. Search giants like Google and Bing have the search market pretty much sewn up but even they are looking to add real time search results to their sites. Indeed, Bing did just this yesterday by adding live search for Twitter into their interface.

But why should you care about that?

This morning while performing her usual billing reviews, Debbie noted that all VISA payments were being declined. Nothing too odd in that. We get cards declined all the time. However, this was every single card. Like your meaty five toed appendage, something was clearly afoot.

I spoke with Charles as I ran my own card through our system and it was declined. The next step was to process my card directly on’s website. Only the website wouldn’t load. Was it my connection? I get the odd issue like that with my connection. A few weeks back I couldn’t connect to the staff chat room although I have a sneaking suspicion I was actually banned.

What was the quickest way of confirming that the website was down? A Twitter search for ‘Authorize’! Sure enough, there were hundreds of tweets from angry, frustrated and nervous Twitterers all wailing about being down. A few even offered that they had lost power to their data center in Seattle. Like a swarm of angry wasps this information was spread through thousands of Twitter accounts making it easy to find. This was breaking news. Sure, in a few days time Google would link to blog entries like this if you searched for it but I wanted to know what was happening right now.

Now, this is where web savvy companies sign up to Twitter and start tweeting status updates. All of’s national call centers are bogged down with thousands of recession-hit merchants weeping into their handsets as their customers visit a competitor with their allegedly declined VISA cards. Surely a few tweets would spread just as quickly and bring reassurance? They do seem to have a Twitter account but at the time of writing it has yet to make a single status update.

There you have it. A perfect example of why live search is the way forward.

And if you’re interested, I just ate a cinnamon and raisin bagel. It was nice.


1 Dylan July 3, 2009 at 3:18 pm

I found your blog post , posted after 1 hour on google. Its not real time, but not bad. Thanks for your post and insight! and a cinnamon raisin bagel sounds awesome!

2 William Hook July 3, 2009 at 3:19 pm

This is one of the main things that I explain to people when joining Twitter. The real-time search is a killer feature, and I hope Google go further into integrating it, if they can.

In the mean time, check this out:

I think Greasemonkey scripts work with Safari with a little bit of work, so give it a try. ;)

3 admin July 3, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Yeah, it looks like Google is getting quicker with its pushing indexed content into the results feed. Although instant via Twitter is better than waiting a few hours for stuff that’s happening right now.

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