The challenge in searching Twitter has always been Twitter itself. The microblogging site is an excellent source for things happening now, though the ability to filter results or search in specific parameters was--to use a scientific term--really wonky.
What's new? Twitter explains it best in their blog entry titled "Simpler search." Spelling corrections (auto-correct), related suggestions, and results from people you follow are all in the mix.
For example, when you search for a specific term now, you can filter your results by "top" results (as determined by Twitter), all results, or people you follow.
These are great options if you want to find information on a specific term, person, company, location or more. All of these apply to genealogy in one way or another.
- Search the name of a speaker (or your name) to see what people are saying.
- Search for genealogy events in your area.
- Search for unusual surnames.
- Search for information in specific geographic areas, especially if you're traveling to another town for a conference.
- Measure reaction to a genealogy company or news in the field.
- Professional genealogists discover potential clients and reach out to them.
- Locate an article you read but forgot who tweeted it.
Deep archive searching through Twitter still isn't there (though other sites claim to do so). Twitter's own "simple search" is good for the most recent content.
Twitter also has an advanced search option, giving you some more ways to use microblogging in your searches.
Will this revolutionize the genealogy industry? No. But it's another implement for your family history toolbox, and that's why I mention it here. Plus I'm a giant search nerd so this was right in my wheelhouse.
You can follow me on Twitter at @acoffin, but your results may vary. I use it as a news feed first and foremost and don't always follow back. It's not you, it's me.