Twitter made some small changes last week. Small changes yes, but they will have huge ramifications in the years to come. Twitter just added a feature that lets you search terms within people you follow - so instead of getting every single mention of "Bonnaroo" from the Twittersphere, you can narrow the field to just what your friends are saying about Bonnaroo. On top of this, Twitter is pulling this info from more than a few days ago, so in time, you will have a better chronicle of interests searchable within your circles.
Why does this matter?
Well, we've been posting crap into the social net for a good five years, all without any rhyme or reason (mostly). Good luck finding that one post, whether it's yours or a friend's, that really matters.
In the time of MySpace, we didn't know that we wanted a linear feed of our friends' happenings, until Facebook straightjacketed all that data onto our walls.
And in the time of Facebook, we didn't know that we needed someone to organize all those happenings into something searchable and sortable -- until someone actually does so in the next 18 months.
Facebook has done an AMAZING job of bringing to light our social lives and presenting it in a straightforward manner.
But have you tried to search for an event that all your friends were talking about? It. Absolutely. SUCKS!
(I'll be the first to admit that I am unfairly singling out Facebook, but since they are the biggest social platform, let's proceed:)
If you are one of 4, 5, or 15 people in your circles posting about the same subject in the past 24 hours, you all get collapsed into a single post based on that subject.
If you want to search for what your friends posted about a single subject, you have to either scroll down your wall to find said subject, or search [term], scroll to the bottom of the search results to see friend posts, and even then you will be lucky to find more than a dozen of your friends' postings.
I mean, I couldn't even find a link to that awesome Tame Impala track someone posted 3 hours ago! Good thing I remembered it was Robbie Lloyd who posted it (without naming the band), so all I had to do was go back to his profile, but still.
And if you are looking for an older posting, it's alllll manual by memory.
Want to explore the best of Coachella, Italy, Phish, beach, pizza, Muse, beer, My Morning Jacket New Years Eve 2008, sundress, Iron Bowl 2011, shoes based on ALL your friends' posts? Goodluckwitdat.
Relevant social search isn't just a Facebook problem, it runs pretty much across the board. Some do it better than others, but we're still a ways off from having a definitive platform that delivers the best results weighed heavily on peer contribution.
So what does this have to do with anything?
Basically, tons of platforms have done an amazing job of connecting us and allowing us to share our interests.
Problem is, all this evanescent, only existing in the here & now, never to be seen again -- unless, of course, a potential employer digs into your profile to find that *one* post you forgot about 4 years ago.
Who wins the next round of social media depends on who does the best job of CATALOGING all that content in an easy-to-find manner, whether it be date, common friends, geography, or interest / hashtag / event.
Keep your eyes open and catalog as much metadata into every single document now, for better things to come.