Nonprofit advantage for future of Twitter and Search

The ability to search online has changed our lives. It’s true. To Google something is a verb that you can look up in the dictionary now. What has it done?

  • Because of search, it no longer matters how many pages there are on the Web, because search can find what you are looking for.
  • Because of search, it no longer matters how many blog posts I write, because search can find the relevant ones for me or my readers.
  • Because of search, it no longer matters how many photos we post online or where we post them, because search can filter out our tags and codes.
  • Because of search, it no longer matters whether you are a blogger or a company, because search will sift the most active conversations to the top.

We are so used to searching online now that we can’t get away from it, rather, we don’t want to browse the web without it. Instead of going to to search the Web, we have search tools (often powered by Google) in our browsers, on our website and on our blogs, and everywhere else really.

Enter Twitter.

Twitter has created the most up-to-the minute archive of conversations around the world.  And guess what many of those conversations include: links.  We can see, through using Twitter Search, the public timeline, or Trending, what topics are popular, what links are being shared, and more.  These are things you can’t necessarily find in a Google search.  So it’s no wonder that there are preliminary talks between the two companies.

So, what’s the advantage for nonprofits?

There’s a reason that SEO (search engine optimization) consultants are so busy with work—lots and lots of companies and organizations of all sizes want to increase their standing in the millions of search results returned when you look up their key words in a search. But with Twitter, it isn’t static.  It’s constantly, right now, with every second, changing. Because it’s all conversation.

Nonprofits are already on Twitter and are joining every day as more and more organizations recognize opportunities to use the tool to connect with their communities online in real-time and leverage the communication tool to expand their campaigns and communications. As search continues to become more dynamic for Twitter users and integrated more and more into the process of finding and contributing to conversations as well as finding information and resources, nonprofits are in a terrific position to greatly influence the community.

For example, if someone searching for “human rights issues” on Google will get a result based on a complex algorithm mainly using archived and long-standing data. A wildly different search result comes up when searching for the same term on Twitter. You’ll see what is freshest to the global community at that time: it might be links, it might be experts, and it might be ideas. So, a nonprofit that is posting messages to Twitter about human rights issues, whether it’s a campaign or a message or anything else, they can be at the top of those results by simply sharing their message with the world.

Obviously, like all “talks” between companies, it’s far too early in the game to know what’s ahead for Twitter and Google. But we do know that search is already part of Twitter’s plan and it means a great opportunity for nonprofit voices to rise to the top.

What do you think? Have you found people, organizations, or resources via Twitter that you couldn’t find otherwise? Would love to hear what you think!

imageAmy Sample Ward’s passion for nonprofit technology has lead her to involvement with NTEN, NetSquared, and a host of other organizations. She shares many of her thoughts on nonprofit technology news and evolutions on her blog.