Twitter Search: The real-time pulse of the world

In an unadvertised corner among Twitter’s servers is a site that allows users to capture the real-time pulse of the world on any phrase, topic, or idea.

It is known as Twitter Search, and it provides an interface with Google-like simplicity for discovering what people are saying about anything from the Tiger Woods debacle (ack!) to health-care legislation (or the lack thereof).

The best part is that Twitter has built in feed capabilities to the site.

A large part of Twitter’s power stems from its ability to aggregate mass sentiment from the public sphere (largely because of its 140-character limit). We seek to connect with the world, especially with large events such as the Super Bowl or the Olympics. Twitter Search allows us to focus more clearly on certain aspects of the public psyche.

With the RSS capability, Web designers can develop a variety of tools — whether it be a simple update widget or more complex mash-ups — to understand how the public is engaging on a particular topic or issue.

NBC tapped into this function to create an Olympic Twitter tracker, which gauges in real-time what people are saying about Olympic stars and events.

Combined with word clouds, the tracker offers a creative interface for navigating Twitter’s Olympic conversation. And NBC smartly incorporates an easy-to-update Twitter interface with a link to its tracker. What better way to become part of the public sphere than making it easy to spread the word?


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