So yes, President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this morning, and Twitter (and the rest of the Web) immediately blew up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something become a trending topic on there ever since reports about the death of Michael Jackson started surfacing (I’m not sure which news item was more surprising).
But when I went to Twitter Search to find out what people were saying about the announcement in real-time (cause, you know, that’s what it’s good for) I noticed something I hadn’t picked up on before. Apparently, Twitter automatically refines search queries for trending topics to maximize the number of results you get. This is something that other real-time search engines so far don’t do (at least not OneRiot or Topsy, which are the ones I checked).
I have no idea when this started occurring exactly and I haven’t seen any earlier mentions of this that I can remember. I’m sure you’ll correct me if it turns out to be a really, really old feature and move on to tell me I’m a moron. To try it out, click the current trending topic ‘President Obama’. Only, that will not be the search query that will kick off an overview of tweets, but instead it’ll become “President Obama” OR #obama which evidently turns up much more results.
Update: ok so this appears to be nothing new. Now I’m wondering why they don’t explain why topics are trending anywhere on Twitter Search.