Thursday, February 17, 2011

Searching for Trouble

Not so long ago I was chatting with a friend on Facebook that I hadn't spoken with in quite some time. (I know, I know, that never happens, but please try and suspend your disbelief for a moment.) In the course of the conversation, my once-broken arm came up and my friend wanted to hear all about it. I had told this story about 20 billion times and the thought of retelling it kind of made my eyes glaze over... but I had an idea. I had totally blathered about it all over Twitter and Facebook for months. I could just make an elegantly constructed search query and then find most - if not all - of the entries I made regarding the incident. This would not only help out with the current conversation, but all future ones as well. Not a bad plan, right?

One problem: you can't do that. Neither Twitter or Facebook allow you to search backward in time through your own entries; as far as I can tell, Facebook doesn't allow you to search for news feed posts at all. I find that to be a glaring omission. Both services could very easily not only be a source of news and communication, but have great potential to serve as digital scrapbooks. Users of both services have amassed a treasure trove of information about past deeds - births, deaths, triumphs, failures, and events across the the spectrum of significance - that, as it stands, lay just out of reach.

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