Doesn't Google know how to rank social media?
Pagerank is not dead at all, its alive and kicking and its looking at Twitter. In an interview with Technology Review Googler Amit Singhal tried to explain the way Google looks at how to rank real time search results. The interview showed that Google is still looking at rankings like they did with Pagerank. This is Pagerank all over, only focussed on tweets, not links.
In the interview Singhal explained some elements of the ranking. Lets look at some of the things he says:
"In the case of tweets, the key is to identify "reputed followers,". You earn reputation, and then you give reputation. If lots of people follow you, and then you follow someone--then even though this [new person] does not have lots of followers," his tweet is deemed valuable because his followers are themselves followed widely."
Ok, so this makes sense: you might not have to many followers yourself, but if someone with 'reputation' follows you, they give you a little of their reputation, just like linkjuice. That sounds good. Reputation matters. But how do they measure that reputation? If you look at the last line: "his tweet is deemed valuable because his followers are themselves followed widely" then it seems to be as if the reputation is based on… number of followers?
"One user following another in social media is analogous to one page linking to another on the Web. Both are a form of recommendation,"
Again, Pagerank. Get as many "links", aka followers, as possible and Google will reward you for it. One follower will be seen as more important then the other, but still the suggestion remains that a lot of followers will help you get higher rankings in real time search. If we are both followed by the same followers with a good reputation, the difference will be made by those without the reputation.
"While he wouldn't get into details, he said Google modeled this hashtagging behavior in ways that tend to reduce the exposure of low-quality tweets. "We needed to model that [hashtagging] behavior. That is the technical challenge which we went after with our modeling approaches,"
He doesn't make it quite clear, but it the general message he is sending out is that Google is mostly working on preventing getting spammers in real time, based on trends and followers.
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