When Michael Jackson died on June 25th, 2009, the majority of online users didn’t turn to Google to find the latest news, they went to the microblogging site Twitter.
News of the tweets about Michael Jackson were announced in our office–via our appointed company tweeter–I then, much like the majority of my co-workers, went immediately to Facebook to update my status, specifically to ” Jackson 4 :'( “.
But where did the rest of the online world go to learn and interact about Michael Jackson’s death? Here’s how the big guys stacked up, assuming everyone’s downtime was about equal:
It seems our micro-network was a decent representation of all online traffic that day. We heard it from Twitter then engaged with our friends on Facebook.
But what about Google? Search Engine Journal reported on the 25th, “Google is showing only ONE headline in its Google News Universal Search Onebox about the rumored passing of Jackson, with others about his jewelry and one about Lou Ferigno training Mr. Jackson. ”
With Twitter’s future plans to expand its searching capabilities beyond its own nest by crawling the actual links in the tweets, one has to ask herself is this really a Twitter exit strategy like experts have suggested, or did MJ’s death really just prove Twitter can go the distance?
Even Steven Johnson‘s article in Time Magazine this month seemed to downplay where Twitter will end up “three to four years from now” :
Social networks are notoriously vulnerable to the fickle tastes of teens and 20-somethings (remember Friendster?), so it’s entirely possible that three or four years from now, we’ll have moved on to some Twitter successor.
(http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1902604-3,00.html 4th paragraph)
(also see: http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007138)
The dawn of real-time search belonging to Twitter might just be upon us. Quite simply Twitter’s brand recognition coupled with its real innovative approach is reaching a level where owning a niche of the search market is nowhere near out of the question, it might even be the current reality. Twitter has been able to create a level playing field for all users to shape search, where-as Google simply cannot find a way to do they same. Google’s major vulnerability is what their very brand is based on–they want to organize the world’s information. If Google continues down this road a robot quite simply will not be able to keep up with 1.6 billion people online and counting (http://www.worldometers.info/).
It is a fact that in the right formation, the lifting power of many wings can achieve twice the distance of any bird flying alone. (Milton Olsen)