If you do some searches of the major sites announcing Twitter's Authority debate, you'll find my rants made on the majority of the comments. It's driving me nuts that everyone keeps talking about it – and someone even went and build Twitority and Twithority.
A better name would have been Search Tweets in Descending Order by Number of Followers.
I know, that's a terribly long name, but this is exactly what it is. It's not Authority.
Definition of Authority
A person or organization having power or control in a particular, typically political or administrative, sphere.
In order for someone to receive Authority on or off the Internet, it requires a couple of things:
- A tangible, proven history of knowledge or practice in an area of expertise.
- An acknowledgment of that expertise by others with authority.
These sorting engines for Twitter lack both. When I tweeted about Valkyrie a couple of days ago, I would have popped up in the results with my 3,200 followers. Chris Pirillo's Tweet on Valkyrie is #1 in the results today – because of his 24,000 followers:
I love Chris Pirillo, but he doesn't have a lick of authority (sorry Chris!) in reviewing Valkyrie.
Even they only have 1,872 followers, it's probably a lot more accurate to state that NY Times Movies Twitter, from the NY Times Movies page, has far more authority than me, Chris or anyone else in the results. And the NY Times Twitter account has a fraction of the followers.
I do believe there is room in social media for authority. I believe Google's pagerank algorithm may be a great start. A Twitter application that monitors retweets, recency of tweets, frequency of tweets and number of followers (based on their authority and relationship) on a given area of expertise would be fantastic! I'd love to be able to search for the best business blogging twitterers out there!
Authority isn't simply how many people follow you. Authority is how many people respect you in a specific area of expertise.