The prolific Jaime Teevan has decided to blog, as evidenced by the creation of “Slow Searching” a few weeks ago. In a recent post, Jaime wrote about some ways in which Twitter search differed from web search, among which she included monitoring behavior, running “the same query over and over again just to see what is new.” Putting on my Lorite hat for a minute, this seems quite similar (albeit on a different timescale) to the “pre-web” concept of routing or standing queries. At some point, later, Google introduced Alerts, which seemed to be its reinvention of the same concept. And of course tools like TweetDeck make it much easier to keep up with particular Twitter topics.
So I think we need to investigate this aspect of Twitter search to identify the kinds of differences (rate of churn of the collection, duration of the information need, etc.) that distinguish standing queries in Twitter from those of other (earlier) collections. Understanding people’s information needs in more detail might make us better equipped to design information seeking interfaces for collections that evolve, fast or slow.