Twitter and Facebook Updates to Show in Search Engines — Are You Prepared?


bing-facebook-google-twitterNow that Bing and Google will be displaying tweets from Twitter and status messages from Facebook, web workers will need to consider how much, and how publicly, we wish to interact with these two social networks.


If you’re like I am, your Twitter stream is probably public. For me, the value of Twitter is its ability to let me share news and comments that current and potential clients may find useful. I also use it as a way of interacting with clients if our regular communication channels are down.

So I certainly don’t say anything using @chcs (my company Twitter account) that can’t be public. I also have a personal Twitter feed, @HamiltonChas, that mostly focuses on my comments regarding local politics. I also tweet using @GrowTrains, an account that reflects my interest in improving passenger train service.

Most of the people I’ve talked to compartmentalize their Twitter activities this way. Many of my WWD colleagues have several accounts, each of which focuses on a different aspect of their professional and personal interests. Third-party Twitter clients like Tweetdeck, Brizzly, Nambu and Hootsuite, make it easy to manage more than one account.

Others, however, don’t like this approach. WWD writer Scott wants to see our personal lives — he states”Telling me in your bio that you don’t post personal tweets guarantees I’m not going to follow you back. Aren’t you interesting?” I certainly hope so, but I’m not sure that my clients want to hear me babbling on about the upcoming election in Seattle, or about how we need high-speed trains.

But now that my tweets will be included in search engines, having multiple Twitter accounts will make it possible to make one or more of them private, should I decide to do so. However you use Twitter, make sure that its privacy controls are set in a way that’s appropriate for your needs.


I doubt that too many people will be upset by the addition of Twitter messages to Bing (s msft) and Google (s goog), since Twitter’s own search and services such as OneRiot have been around for a while. Facebook searches may prove more controversial.

It’s likely that most people think of Facebook as a much more personal communication outlet than Twitter, since generally, people have Facebook’s privacy controls set to display content only to those they’ve “friended.” And as I wrote about this morning, one can even give different levels of access to certain people — my “personal friends” group can see more of my Facebook activities than my “business contacts” group can.

But I certainly hope that Facebook will give us a way of opting out of having our status messages show up in search engines. At this point, it’s unclear how Bing’s Facebook searches will work (they aren’t live yet). Google will reportedly take a personalized, opt-in approach, only showing status messages of your Facebook friends if both you and your friends tell Google which social networks you use.

It’s also not clear how Facebook Pages and Groups will be searched, although they are generally more public, and mostly used to encourage interaction with fans, or advocate for causes.

So in the coming weeks, web workers will want to evaluate how we balance our privacy against the marketing boost which might come from having our comments appear in Bing and Google searches.

Will you let search engines index your status updates?


Simon Mercado

Hi my name is Simon Mercado and I was wondering if i could use your twitter pic for my journalism class..thanks


umm.. you don’t necessarily have to be ‘friended’ by someone to see their stuff. If you are in the same network as someone, and their account is public, you’re in.


I think Facebook updates are more personal and shouldn’t be searchable but Twitter is awesome. Using Google to find useful tweets on Twitter sounds like a plan to me.

Eric Porcher

It’s all of limited interest to me unless they have more than 2 weeks of twitter history to search. I’m all for living in the moment, but, two weeks?? I want all my tweets available to search.

Adam Fullerton

Twitter: Yes: in fact I encourage it.
Facebook: No: It’s not that I have anything to hide, I just form tweets in a more formal and useful fashion; whereas status updates are generally inside jokes, vacation plans or opinions that are mindless drivel to anyone I didn’t go to high school with, for example.


What I’m “not prepared” for is the inevitable new wave of SEO-centric spamming. People are already fighting for re-tweets to get increased visibility; searchability will up this race to the point that there will be a pretty bad signal-to-noise ratio.

But, I could be wrong. We’ll see!



blockquote>But I certainly hope that Facebook will give us a way of opting out of having our status messages show up in search engines.


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