People Search is The New Hotness

Yesterday, Twitter sent me mail advertising its new “People Search” feature.

It’s new feature season and we’re starting with People Search.
This new Twitter feature is great for finding more people to
follow because it searches profile information such as name,
location, bio, and url. Come on by and find out if your friends
are already Twittering and you just didn’t know it!

As a techie geek, I’m obligated to love the Twitter, and I do – I tell it when I have a headache, I see what people who I never see personally are doing with their Xboxes, I click more tinyurl‘s then I ever used to do. I don’t understand why I would use both Facebook status and Twitter, but if I think hard, I’m not sure why I would use either, so I try not to think.

But here’s the thing – searching for Bob’s Twitter profile isn’t a People Search, anymore than searching for e-mail Bob sent you is a People Search. If People Search means anything, it has to mean trying to find important and canonical data about a person – practical contact information, personal history or genealogy, social network filtering, professional data, pedophile-related tag spam (I kid!), etc. It can’t mean “does Joe use service X,” even if service X has a tiny bit of profile information available other places. You wouldn’t call deliberately searching for my blog a people search, for example: you’d call it a blog search.

I’m not actually annoyed by this – I just find it interesting to see how the “People Search” term has taken off, such that it’s either a marketing checkbox or an easily-typed, if inappropriate, moniker for new features. It’s a good time to be in the People Search business – and, perhaps, a good time to look like you are.

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One Response to “People Search is The New Hotness”

  1. Alex Algard Says:

    Yes, it is funny to see how “people search” has taken a life of its own — and for understandable reasons… it’s still an under-served segment in general, so people are very excited about innovation in this area. But applying “people search” this broadly? Come on… where is people’s imagination? Why don’t Match.com and eHarmony just re-brand themselves as “people search” sites?

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