I’m not sure if this feature is available to everybody yet, or whether I’m just very late to the party, but earlier this morning when using Twitter search I noticed something new at the top of the results – Recent Retweets.
It doesn’t seem to work for all keywords, but on certain occasions Twitter has started ranking certain high-profile users above the normal reverse-chronological results that are normally generated.
For example, here is a search for Twitter:
Repeated searches of the same term do generate the same users at the top of the age, all of which (I think I’m right in saying) are verified accounts.
It’s too early to say whether this is simply something Twitter is experimenting with or whether it forms part of their grander plans to improve search results by reputation ranking.
At the moment, it’s a pretty useless add-on, as I couldn’t care any less about what Chris Brown and Weird Al Yankovic have to say about Twitter, Facebook and Barack Obama. Or anything else, for that matter, largely because, one, for me at least, they don’t know anything important about these subjects, because (two) the key question about reputation ranking remains unanswered: who decides who is an authority on what?
Ideally, we should decide for ourselves, but it’s far more likely that Twitter will decide for us, because the top spots have considerable value. Still, better Twitter than the collective, otherwise Justin Bieber will very quickly become the new Cecil Adams.