Last night, Arrington wrote a post, Bloggers Lose The Plot Over Twitter Search, which called out me (among others) for getting too worked up over the issue. After all, he argues, you wouldn't have to use Twitter authority search, it would just be an option. Eric Marcoullier of Gnip basically echoed that sentiment in a comment on my post yesterday as well.
Here's my response to that, something which Arrington knows but probably can't say too loudly on TechCrunch: Most of the people who use the Internet are idiots.
If you give them an option to search by "authority," they will assume all the results returned are from the most authoritative people -- even if that is just based on the number of followers they have and not really anything authoritative at all. They will continue to assume that WHEN the system is gamed and it's all spammers who have the most followers. Let me re-emphasize WHEN.
Another TechCrunch writer, Jason Kincaid, has it right when he says, "as Google showed over a decade ago, popularity isn’t the best indicator of relevance. For that, you need an algorithm that can filter out spammy results (don’t be surprised if Twitter is already working on one in-house)." But with that, we're getting into something that is way more complex than Twitter itself.
Which brings me back to my third point yesterday, that it should be some third party service which makes this functionality for those who really want it -- and guess what, one did in a few hours: Twitority.
This made the agitator of this whole Bitchmeme, Loic Le Meur, very happy. And now, for his part, he says that "authority" was the wrong word for what he meant. That's basically what I figured yesterday in saying "Now let me be clear, the most basic form of the idea isn't an awful one -- that it should be easier to search highly influential Twitter users' thoughts on specific topics -- but the way Loic Le Meur wants to do it is laughably bad," and that gets to the heart of Bitchmeme itself.
For a Bitchmeme to be really great, it basically has to be an argument about nothing. If Le Meur had just said "Twitter needs more search options," that would have been boring and no one would have gotten into a heated discussion about it. Instead, he adds authority to the mix and the blogosphere explodes.
Scoble is more or less saying that in his all-over-the-place post about idiots on the Internet today, but it's something that The Joker says much more succinctly:
"If tomorrow I tell the press that like a gang banger, will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all, part of the plan. But when I say that one, little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!"Shameless last sentence plug to follow me on Twitter.
Update: And I'm glad to see my friend Sean Percival is on the case already with Twithority, which gives a side-by-side of time-based Twitter searches versus ones based on users with the most followers.