There have been quite a few posts about Twitter being a search engine. I can see the logic but as the title of my post indicates, I don’t think it is. I think that the posts around it, especially the Techcrunch one (who I am a big fan of btw), are well justified in writing about Twitter that way, but I disagree.
What is a search engine:
WordNet: A search engine is a “computer program that retrieves documents or files or data from a database or from a computer network
Wiktionary: an application that searches for, and retrieves, data based on some criteria.
Florida state university: the software used to retrieve information from a database or from the Internet.
Britannica: computer program to find answers to queries in a collection of information, which might be a library catalog or a database but is most commonly the World Wide Web.
Merriam-webster: : computer software used to search data (as text or a database) for specified information
ZNet: Software that searches for data based on some criteria.
Longman Dictionary: a computer program that helps you find information on the Internet.
All of these definition say that a “search engine” is a computer program, software or application.
Berkley: All search engines consist of three parts: (1) a database of web documents, (2) a search engine operating on that database, and (3) a series of programs that determine how search results are displayed.
There needs to be collection, indexing, query processing, query analysis, information retrieval, ranking and result presentation to be very simplistic.
The anatomy of a search engine describes it in more depth.
What a search engine is not:
- A program that searches other search engines
- A program that does not return results beyond it’s own scope (wikipedia)
- A program that does not contain any of the primary elements found in a search engine
- A program that is not an engine built for the task for searching through information
- A sock
- A social network
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time. (Twitter)
It is a program, that allows people to post messages to each other. It also includes a search feature to search within the message database that exists, created by users.
It does not go beyond it’s scope, and does not have any of the elements that define a search engine, so it is not a search engine.
It is a social network, where I can confirm, many people ask questions which they could type into a search engine. Users respond to these queries, not a machine. Therefore Twitter is not a search engine.
Twitter did acquire Summize, a search engine that searches though blog discussions and online reviews. Summize is a search engine.
What is a Tweeter?
Originally it is a loudspeaker designed to produce high frequencies. Arguably the “Tweeter” as in Twitter user is kinda the same thing!
Why I use Twitter?
I don’t think that it’s a load of nothingness. I think that the interesting thing about it is how you define the quality of the content. I only follow people who are of interesting to me, people who share the same interests, and who are “information givers” and “discussers”. I don’t follow people who chat between themselves about the latest celebrity gossip or who rehash information that I can get from more authoritative sources. People who want to use twitter to interact with people who chat about celebrity gossip define their account as such if you like. I get very valuable information, and even stopped using blog search to find things that interest me.
Twitter is what you make it. But it is not a search engine, even though it offers use of one