Missing From Twitter Search: Student Case-Study

Updated 12.10 pm Pacific:
After following the link in the Twitter “support” email – the one that says “add yourself to this thread if you’re having problems” — what did I find? This:

We no longer need you to add comments to the thread.  Thanks!

To be clear, Twitter sent me an email that said “go add yourself to this post” … but the post is closed for comment. Nevertheless, @anniekatrina does NOT show up in “find people” NOR does it show up in “plain search“. Grrr.

Original Post:
One of my students told me this week that her tweets were not showing up in our class hashtag. Sure enough, she was right. Moreover, her account was not showing up in Twitter search. She sent an SOS to Twitter but has gotten no response; she opened a new account, and it works just fine.

After poking around the Twitter help site, I found this probable explanation:

If your updates are missing from Twitter search, your account may be under investigation for spam.  If you’ve been following aggressively, or your account has been previously suspended, your account will not turn up in search results.  Accounts suspended for violations will not be re-added to search results.

That last line about refusal to reinstate is bothersome in a case like this one, where there are no violations. So I just opened a ticket with Twitter:

One of my students — @anniekatrina — has not sent spam nor has she been an aggressive follower. She has 168 updates [account is almost 1 year old] and is following only 36 people.

However, her Tweets are missing from our class hashtags and her account is missing from Twitter search. She has sent a “help” request but has not heard back from Twitter.

(1) Why would this account be missing from search?
(2) How can we get this account “reinstated” – since it has never been used for spam?

I’m using Twitter in higher ed … and it’s frustrating to have students who are playing by the rules be penalized like this.

Kathy E. Gill
University of Washington

Here’s the stock email response from Twitter. On a scale of 1-10 for relevance (with 10 being excellent), this rates about a 2. The issue covered

Thanks for your email. You can search for people on Twitter by keyword, user name, location and more. Information about searching for people is here:
http://help.twitter.com/forums/10711/entries/14022

We’re currently experiencing a couple of issues with finding people; if you can’t find yourself in search, make sure you’ve posted updates (so we can index you and your updates.) Profiles that haven’t posted updates aren’t indexed in search.

Profiles added in the last 8 weeks aren’t being indexed by search. We’re tracking this problem here:
http://help.twitter.com/forums/31935/entries/29912

Support requests reporting this issue are being closed, as we’re aware of and working on the problem. Please check the thread above for updates.

When you’re using ‘Find People’ to look for folks by name or user name, you can only perform 50 searches per hour before you’re limited– this is for abuse control and spam prevention. If you hit a search limit using Find People, try checking out Twitter Search’s advanced search:

http://search.twitter.com/advanced

If you’re not listed in search and your profile is public, we may be investigating your account for a violation listed here:
http://help.twitter.com/forums/26257/entries/18311

If you’re sure that doesn’t pertain to you and you still can’t find yourself or your friends, add your comments here:
http://help.twitter.com/forums/31935/entries/29912

Thanks!
Twitter Support

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