Twitter, the Internet’s most popular source for instant-information, is now letting users go back to find old tweets. The social media platform is best known for its brief and fleeting updates on all things newsworthy and not. By updating their search engine, Twitter has given greater access to a long history of tweets that have been rapidly posted, consumed, and subsequently forgotten. Now, users will be able to dig through the mountains of information that they may have missed.
The new access spans all the way back to 2006, when Twitter was first created. Tweets will be available to be pulled up at any time after they’re posted, rather than vanishing after a week or so as they do now. To facilitate searching through such a massive database, Twitter had to redesign its coding and servers. Every tweet has already been stored by Twitter, but making them available to users required a brand new index.
The new index was built over many years, starting in 2012 from an aggregated base of important historical tweets. With the new search infrastructure, Twitter users will be able to more precisely search for comprehensive results. Case use of search terms has been expanded, making it simpler for users to find all relevant posts about a specific topic in a niche field or general subject. Sorting through posts based on their hashtag is made simple and convenient.
The new search engine is being rolled out over the next few days, including access for mobile users. The layout of the social media platform will remain generally the same, but users will be able to find options for “All Tweets” rather than only the most recent. The service will still favor new posts and fresh content, but the new search capabilities may transform the light in which people view Twitter. With access to all the history of Twitter, the platform begins to look less like a place to mouth off about the moments of your day and more like an encyclopedia of historical snapshots. The new search engine features may provide the Twitter world with a bit more depth, taking it beyond a petty distraction and creating the possibility of a more complete digital history of the world.