Written by Internet

Twitter is Searchable: My Early Timeline

Twitter has finally built a full search engine for its archived Tweets. That’s important because it has been incredibly hard in the past to find specific Tweets.

I’m on Twitter of course, and have been since sometime in December 2006. But this search engine fills in a few blanks.

My first Tweet was not the most exciting ever:

That was December 13. I then didn’t do anything for about three months when I published this helpfully:

The first actual thing of interest was a few days later:

I’m honestly not sure what that might have been.

Then this was squarely aimed at the only other people I really knew on Twitter – the tech guys at One Golden Square:

Martin Collins is on the early shift at Magic these days – and back in One Golden Square. I’m not sure if he’s still using Carmina Burana…

Yahoo Pipes!

Then I started doing something that I’d completely forgotten. I started using Twitter in the third-person. I’m honestly not sure why, and I suspect that it’s because other people were doing that. I certainly didn’t have someone Tweeting for me!

I’ve kicked The Apprentice habit you’ll be pleased to learn. And I still think it’s unwise to advertise your hangover on social media if your work colleagues follow you – particularly your boss.

Sometime in the second half of 2007, a lot of us at Virgin Radio started using Twitter in a different way, although most didn’t realise that they’d set up a Twitter account.

Twitter at the time let you receive free SMS messages from specific accounts. It still does (although it’s operator specific and Vodafone has recently cancelled this service).

Using a combination of the Virgin Radio shortcode for texting, and Twitter, James Cridland got everyone in the company to sign up to Twitter with their mobile phones ahead of our weekend away in Dublin.

Here’s what happened. You followed a Virgin Radio account and enabled SMS messaging from it. Then you sent a message to the Virgin Radio text number with a prefix (so that it skipped the studio inbox). That was then “posted” as a Virgin Radio Tweet. And everyone following that account then got an SMS with said Tweet.

Free SMS group messaging for everyone in the company while we went on our jaunt to the Emerald Isle!

Well there were a few issues.

Firstly, it was anonymous, since all the Tweets were coming from the Virgin Radio account. And people quickly realised this. You could make “humorous” comments about your colleagues and they wouldn’t know who was broadcasting them.

Secondly, the volume of texts that everyone was getting meant that before we’d reached Heathrow Airport on the way out, a lot of people’s phones were dead or clogged up with texts, and they were desperately asking how to unsubscribe!

I’m not sure how any of this is related and whether I somehow got accounts muddled for a while, but my Twitter timeline goes quiet now until early 2008.

(I’ll save you a click – it’s a live blog of the BAFTAs).

(You can still listen to this here or download it from this page)

The key thing to note is that I was no longer Tweeting in the third person.

Anyway, I don’t propose to run through all 12,900 or so Tweets from there to date, but it’s fun using Twitter search to see how things have changed.

One final thing to say is that I don’t know if old Tweets come with the