Loic Le Meur wrote a post today arguing that we need search by authority for Twitter.
Comments about your brand or yourself coming from @techcrunch with 36000 followers are not equal than someone with 100 followers. Most people use Twitter with a few friends, but when someone who has thousands, if not tens of thousands of followers starts to speak, you have to pay attention.
I think he’s missing the point of Twitter, or perhaps viewing Twitter narrowly through the lens of a viral marketing evangelist. Twitter is a communication platform, not a marketing platform, and there’s a subtle difference. Much as I wouldn’t want my email or phone prioritizing people based on their number of friends, I wouldn’t want Twitter to apply some global “authority” filter when I’m perfectly capable of deciding whom I want to listen to.
It’s easy to speculate that Le Meur’s argument is self-serving, since he has over 15,000 followers. He also follows over 15,000 people, which shows how little value he actually places on following someone (unless he’s the world’s fastest speed reader).
I don’t dismiss his idea entirely; I can see some value in getting an aggregate view of online punditry. In fact, I’m responding to his argument myself, precisely because his opinion carries weight in the online community and deserves a rebuttal.
But I suspect that Twitter, with its design for immediate, personal communication, isn’t the best vehicle for assembling this view. Note that I’m responding by blogging, not by tweeting.