We all know how Twitter works, right? It's the real-time web: if you go to search.twitter.com and type in "Nick Jonas," you're going to find out what Nick and his legions are doing RIGHT NOW.
But two weeks ago, Twitter announced that it would soon begin returning "most popular" results -- a huge shift in what we think of the site's primary mission. Showing the most popular result (as opposed to the most recent) is something that search engines like Google and Bing do. That is, when that's what Google and Bind do when they're not rolling out features that attempt to return real-time results like Twitter.
In any case, Twitter's blog post told developers a lot about how the new popular-tweets function would work -- but was tight-lipped about when the feature would roll out. Well, now we have an answer: they're rolling it out now.
As you can see in the screen shot above, the top two results are at least 11 hours old -- even though the search is also returning results from a few seconds ago. Each of the top results shows how many times it was re-tweeted.
First thought: rad. The downside to real-time results is that recency is a harsh mistress: no matter how good a piece of information is, it'll always be displaced by what's new, whether the new info is any good or not. In terms of best-of-both-worlds scenarios, this isn't a terrible toe-dip into structuring the real-time web into the prime-time web.
Second thought: uh-oh. You know how many spammers are on Twitter now? You know how long it'll take them to figure out a bot that will re-tweet their annoying, trending-memes Tweets until they're at the top of those searches?
Third thought: I bet we could build a bot like that...
Thoughts on the new feature? Anyone give a shit about seeing which Tweets have been re-posted 40 times?
Oh, and just in case anyone cares: the above Tweeting is in reference to our Twitter-ific 100 Unsexiest Men list.