It isn’t just Google that missed the real-time web #mbc09

People are talking about Microblogging Conference 09, which has been billed as “the very first microblogging conference in Europe where professionals and enthusiasts in the scene will get together.”

Bet there is nothing about the event on Google’s news page, its blog page, or even Google Hot Trends. It’s the same non-story at Yahoo, Yahoo News and Yahoo Buzz.

So how does this native Californian claim to know that people are talking about an event in Germany? Well, TwitScoop tells me so:

TwitScoop and mbc09

“mbc09” is the hashtag being used on Twitter to mark messages related to the microblogging conference. That tag is one of the top “trending topics” over at Twitter Search:

mbc09 on Twitter Search

And Twemes lists “-mbc09” as the first word in its “tweme cloud”:

mbc09 on

It’s on the front of too, along with a nifty mini-graph showing its popularity:

mbc09 an

This is another example of Google not capturing the “real-time web“. But it’s not evidence that “Google cannot be real-time,” as Bernard Lunn said last week. But I’ll save that for another post.

Is it that Yahoo and Google are bad at tracking Twitter? No. A quick visit to Twitturly and Twitturls and Tweetmeme — three tools that track what people are linking to from Twitter — also showed nothing related to the conference. Even tweetnews, the promising BOSS + Twitter application that Lunn referred to, returned no results when I ran a quick search for mbc09.

Why did all of these powerful tools miss the micro-buzz? Well, regardless of the name of this blog, it’s not always about the almighty link.

When an event starts — or news breaks — there is no “content” to link to and so services that analyze only URLs cannot be real-time.

Twitter has shown us that “content” doesn’t necessarily come in the form of a complete HTML web page. It can sometimes be delivered in quick bursts of text.

Then again, doesn’t each tweet have its own web page that can be indexed? Oh yeah, I said that will be another post.

Linked to from this post:

Twitter delivered link journalism during Mumbai attacks

At 5:22 (IST) Thursday, Andrew Richardson, Creative Director at News Digital Media, sent this message on Twitter:

No original reporting, but I’m sure this qualifies as “link journalism” as defined by Scott Karp, the man who coined the term.

Based an many articles last week, this tweet also falls into the category of “citizen journalism.”

Is this an example of “citizen link journalism?”

Regardless of the terminology, it was happening in every 2 of 5 “Mumbai” tweets for a little over 15 minutes.

I used a Yahoo Pipe to retrieve the last 500 tweets that contained the word “Mumbai” on Wednesday night. The first of those 500 tweets came in five seconds before 11:45 p.m. (GMT).

The pipe then filtered out any tweets that didn’t contain “http://”, and spat out a final feed with 209 remaining (link-laden) tweets. Over 40% of the “Mumbai” tweets posted within those 15 minutes linked to other Web sites.

The frequency of hyperlinks was obvious to anyone watching Twitter that night. In a blog post by Mindy McAdams, a reader named “Scott” observed:

“Twitter, it appeared to me, was spreading the news, or connecting people with the news, more than it was breaking news. Not that it hasn’t or can’t break news … I just didn’t see it in this case. And spreading/connecting is a highly valuable thing.”

What I want to know is this: When global news breaks, does any established news organization have the means to spread news and connect people as quickly as “citizens” can with Twitter? Please leave your comments below.

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