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Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN!

The Real-Time Human Handiwork Improving Twitter Search

The Real-Time Human Handiwork Improving Twitter Search | The Social Media Learning Lab |

One of the magical things about Twitter is that it opens a window to the world in real-time. An event happens, and just seconds later, it’s shared for people across the planet to see.

...when Flight 1549 crashed in the Hudson, @jkrums on twitter shared, " - There's a plane in the Hudson. I'm on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.  3:36 PM - 15 Jan 2009

When [other]  major events happened, such as when Osama bin Laden was killed, and when Mitt Romney mentioned binders during the presidential debates, people instantly came to Twitter – and, in particular, Twitter search – to discover what was happening.

...[there's a] real-time human computation engine we built that allows us to find search queries as soon as they’re trending, ...[these are sent to] real humans to be judged... the system works.

(1) ...we monitor for which search queries are currently popular.

Behind the scenes: we run a Storm topology that tracks statistics on search queries.


For example: the query “Big Bird” may be averaging zero searches a day, but at 6pm on October 3, we suddenly see a spike in searches from the US.

(2) Next, as soon as we discover a new popular search query, we send it to our human evaluation systems, where judges are asked a variety of questions about the query.

Behind the scenes: when [we detect] that a query has reached sufficient popularity, it ...dispatches the query to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service, and then polls Mechanical Turk for a response.

For example: as soon as we notice “Big Bird” spiking, we may ask judges on Mechanical Turk to categorize the query, or provide other information (e.g., whether there are likely to be interesting pictures of the query, or whether the query is about a person or an event) that helps us serve relevant tweets and ads.

Photo by Dixon Tam, Flickr CC

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

I'm writing a digital chapter for a professional book for Wiley that includes crowdsourcing.  I was delighted to hear of this example of the human interaction in twitter and wanted to share it with you.  ~ D

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Rescooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN from Curation, Social Business and Beyond!

Powerful Tweeting to Thrive in the Twitter Ecosystem | The Atlantic

Powerful Tweeting to Thrive in the Twitter Ecosystem | The Atlantic | The Social Media Learning Lab |

A study based on 43,000 responses to Tweets found precisely what people like and loathe about twitter's microblog posts.


Excerpted,  by Megan Garber for The Atlantic




  • Twitter doesn't replace traditional news; it does increasingly function as a real-time newswire, disseminating and amplifying information gathered from the world and the web.
  • As it is social, Twitter also entertains, so it serve both a place and a platform.
  • Tweets that are informative or funny -- or, ideally, BOTH -- evoke the best responses.
  • Stale info - tweets that repeat conventional wisdom, offer uselessly de-contextual news, or extoll one's lunch options = noise.



Do be useful, novel, compelling.  AVOID:  boring.


Add to the twitter story: an opinion, a pertinent fact or comment on the conversation before hitting "send" on a retweet (RT).


"The Twitter ecosystem values learning about new content," the study notes -- so new info, it seems, is new info, regardless of who provides it.  

  • Sharing your own work conveys excitement about that work -- which means that self-promotion, rather than being a Twitter turn-off, can actually be an added value. 

Read full article here: []

Sez Deb: Sounds like tweet Enchantingly, is a key take-away, note to Guy Kawasaki. 

Photo credit:  Twitter via iPad and on Hootsuite, via Mac display, by Deb.

Via janlgordon
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