When I first started sketching out the “Minimal competence” blog post in my head, I imagined it as part of a series. The series had three real functions:

  1. To layout a theory about our obligations as builders of services and consumers of those services
  2. To selfishly hilight the hard problems that Flickr and Etsy had tackled and others had shied away from
  3. To contextualize my frustration that Twitter’s search lacked two features that, while hard, were core to the way I wanted to use it, and the retreat from which felt like cowardice.

On point #3 those two missing Twitter features were:

  1. The ability to search over all time, not just a fluctuating window of 12 – 72 hours.
  2. To scope those searches to people you follow

Now I’ve built both of those features for much smaller, slower moving corpuses (after all Flickr is only up to photo id 8 billion and something, and most of Etsy’s items expire after 4 months), so I both knew it was possible, and also could only speculate on how you’d do it on top of a corpus like Twitter.

Which is all a long way of saying, Twitter now has both of these features, socially scoped searches that go back over years of tweets. Plus the ability to download your archives.

Good fucking work Twitter! (here’s hoping others follow)