This week, Twitter blogged about its latest improvement to its micro-blogging kingdom: an improved search function. The new searching technology will create an experience where photos and videos show up when you type in a search term. According to their write-up about the combination of searching and photos, “We believe both make a huge difference in making the world feel even smaller.” Will the world actually feel smaller thanks to this development — and if so, is that a good thing?
We are already used to a pretty high-quality Twitter search function. When you type something in the search box, you can expect to get a pretty nice variety of tweets, people, and links associated with that topic. Now, however, you can expect something extra when you search for something: videos and photos, right on the results page. You can also expect multimedia to show up when you click on hashtags.
Whether or not this new search feature actually has an impact will probably depend on what kind of Twitter user you are. Twitter is probably still most famous for its “140 character” quality — even with all of Twitter’s focus on multimedia in the last year, we are used to going to tweets for their words. We want to see what short, pithy message will pique our interest next.
However, because Twitter is taking the initiative to put the photos right there on your results page — bam! photos! presto! — the mental adjustment period we need to get used to Twitter as a photo resource might be shrinking. Twitter’s approach to advertising this new photo emphasis seems to be based on sentimental value:
So if Twitter can convince us to post more photos so as to spread more memories, we just might get more invested in the multimedia aspect of tweeting. And in that case, a search function that incorporates multimedia will not only make a difference, but will be necessary.