Twitter’s features need some work. It has search, and it has a discovery tab, but they’re weak. Twitter is so focused on what’s happening right this second that it lets deeper searching and browsing go by the wayside.
Enter PostPost. It has been around for a while as a Twitter search engine that actually remembers things that happened more than a couple days ago. But now it has a new feature called the Timeline Topline, which surfaces topics discussed by the most important people in your stream.
The Twitter search page says, in huge letters, “See what’s happening right now.” It’ll show you that, sure. But if you’re looking for something more than moments old, good luck. Twitter is working on search, buying start-ups and so forth, but we’re still waiting on results. Twitter search can be useful, but it’s severely limited. If you use the tools Twitter provides, tweets that are more than few days old fall off the edge of the Earth.
In December, Twitter launched its latest redesign, centered around the “Discover” tab. “Discover” shows trends, hashtags, popular and promoted stuff. It’s the ads page. There aren’t many compelling reasons to use it for discovering anything, especially considering what kinds of mind-numbing topics tend to trend on Twitter.
Twitter’s Discover tab. Feel yourself getting dumber?
PostPost is better than Twitter itself for solving both of these problems. The search, which I’ve been using for a while, is especially good. It’s not just that it finds older content; I think the PostPost algorithm provides more accurate results than Twitter search. Just type in a word, name or hashtag, and the results come back at lightning speed. You can also filter results by ‘”Everything,’ ‘Links,’ ‘Photos’ and ‘Videos.’
The new “Timeline Topline” feature builds on those algorithmic smarts to surface more topics to explore. It’s personalized to you, unlike Twitter’s Discover tab. It picks out 150 people who are most relevant to you, mixing people you mention most and people who are popular globally. The Topline displays topics in red, but it also shows via links for the people who are talking about them.
As you can see, not all the topics are clickable. But they’re better than #TenAttractivePeopleIFollow, and I know who the people are, so I’m still inclined to see what @fromedome has to say about love.
PostPost’s Timeline Topline. Hey! I actually care about those people and things!
Why 150? Dunbar’s Number, the theoretical limit of the number of people with whom anyone can maintain a relationship. It’s the same limit Path imposes on the number of friends.
This is a light discovery tool. It’s not the deep-diving Twitter sonar offered by Bottlenose. But I think of PostPost as a more digestible add-on to Twitter that doesn’t dispense with the past. It’s simple and Twitter-like, it just does things that Twitter, for some strange reason, doesn’t do itself.
Image of Henry Rollins’ back tattoo via Rawfit