MicroPost: Summize.com … search = search

I was curious about Summize when I read a post about it in Mashable today, so I went over to play. Try it for yourself. It’s the nicest search I’ve seen for Twitter so far (I had been using TweetScan), mainly because you can click on to see threaded conversations…very helpful for remembering Tweets you exchanged over time…

Threaded conversation on Summize.com

I searched on my own Twitter name, and found pages of results. It was helpful: I saw a few things that mentioned my name but hadn’t reached my “replies” box (“@” sign not at start of message). But that got me thinking: hmmm, could anyone search Summize and find out what I’ve been saying? Even if they didn’t follow me…or use Twitter?

So I tried it with the name of someone I know who uses Twitter, but is not connected to me either as a “Follower” or a “Following.” Summize showed me all of his Tweets.

Important to be aware of this as a privacy…what? Issue? Concern? I’ll just call it reality. In essence: your Tweets are public; anyone can search them on Summize. (Note: a Mashable editor correctly pointed out that Tweets can be found in Google searches as well…but the difference with Summize is that the whole “opus” of your Tweets, plus threaded conversations, can be searched in one place. The same is true with TweetScan—minus threaded conversations—and likely with other search apps. See Comments, below.)

EXCEPT: if you “protect your updates” (on Twitter’s Settings page) so that people have to request to follow you, and then be approved. This seems to put you behind a “wall” where your Tweets can’t be seen…

Summize, would there be value in having people sign in with their Twitter names/passwords, and make sure that they can only search on names that are actively Following or Followers?

People on Twitter: Tweet wisely, or set your privacy accordingly.

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12 thoughts on “MicroPost: Summize.com … search = search”

  1. Agree; thanks for that. Do you see any difference in the threaded nature—full conversations are revealed—and/or the fact that the whole “opus” of a person’s Tweets (and Tweets about them) can be seen?

    I’m hardly the shy type (check my Tweets on Summarize; you’ll see :-) ) but it did strike me as a concern. If you’re joining as a closed group (like a family or workgroup; I know people who Tweet like this) and “lock” your Tweets, you’re fine. Although most Twitter users don’t protect their profiles, I often hear people say that they feel like Twitter is a friendly place where they can speak openly. That’s how I use it…but important to be aware that this friendly place is a bit more open—to Tweets through Google and to whole annals through Summize—than they might have realized.

  2. I used to feel that way, until Valleywag started reading Twitter (so I didn’t have to). Then I felt that way about FriendFeed, until Valleywag started combing that place for dirt, too.

    Basically, these days, I don’t say anything outside of an IM window with a trusted friend that I don’t want on Valleywag.

    I see your point, but I guess at the point I’m at now, I’ve come to grips with the fact that all the stuff I say *anywhere* can and will be used against me by the court of public opinion.

  3. I tell everyone this. Assume anything you put on the internet will be public. Keeping that in mind at all times really makes you second guess everything you write.

    Even an IM window I watch my words. Anyone can always copypasta the conversation somewhere else. If I have something sensitive to share I take it to my email box or the telephone.

    The strange thing is that although we would be opposed to our government spying on us, they need not even invest in the technology to do so. The technology sector is doing it for them. They can just subscribe to our Summize, Friendfeed, or Twitter feeds and see every move we make. Granted there would be no reason for them to do that since the people they should be spying on are not exactly transparent lol.

  4. 100% agree with Adam: if you are going to share anything over the internets, you need to be prepared for it to “go public”. When I started actively blogging it was clear to me that there were two possible routes: maintain an anon identity under a pen name or go all in. Going all in means you have to think before you post and deal with the consequences when you post something (whether to a blog, Fb or Twitter) that results in a backlash you hadn’t anticipated.

    People who don’t like you can find out where you live. They can look at photos of your kids. Someone will misconstrue something you say and judge you based on it. These things happen. If you are going to have a public account, it’s the price of admission.

  5. Agree, agree, y’all. BUT. My caveat is based on the “feeling” that Twitter evokes that you’re in a walled place, among friends…good to remember that it’s actually public. More so than, say, your status updates or wall posts on Facebook, at least to my best knowledge.

    And threaded conversations, which are likely innocuous update by update, could be quite different when read as an ongoing dialog.

    But ’nuff said. The point here: just know.

  6. Also know this: if you accidentally post something on Twitter that you didn’t mean to, and then delete it right away, it will STILL show up on Summize. This happened to me recently when I posted something to the wrong Twitter account by accident and instantly deleted the post, but it still shows up on Summize (though when you click through to Twitter, it’s gone). Summize people, can you disallow deleted tweets from showing up please?

  7. Great discussion here, chep2m.

    I do understand your point about privacy with twitter search. Twitter being a very easy-to-use micro-blogging platform feels more like chat or IM than blogging. People don’t expect their “top of mind” conversations to be indexed the same way as their blog posts/comments. Having said that, many early adopters are seeing the benefits of searching realtime threaded conversations as they happen, so my guess is people will adapt and begin to accept search as well as other data mining & filtering services in the burgeoning twitter ecosystem.

    We are looking into ways to allow users to search only those you’re following. We’re currently experimenting with a “network” search prototype in our internal labs. You can follow twitter.com/summize to get updates on future releases.

    @Shara – i believe Twitter is working on a way to inform 3rd party services if tweets have been deleted. until then, it will be difficult to remove tweets that have been posted to the public timeline.

    The bottom line is one must tweet wisely using direct messaging and/or updating your privacy settings.

    Thank you all for the great feedback.

    Jay Virdy

    http://twitter.com/jayvirdy

  8. i use protected mode and found out today that something has happened, my tweets didn’t show up on google until recently. i found out when a friend told me that his protected tweets were searchable on summize.com.

    i sure gave twitter a piece of my mind so have others.
    i don’t mind so much a few more people on twitter seeing my stuff but my tweets being on twitter really pisses me off. that not to happen is the whole point of protected mode

  9. Whether you lock your account, block people, delete your tweets, or even if you delete your account, it’s pointless. It’s stupid that Twitter still offered those functions when a Google search will do the trick. No brainer. Hmpft.

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