Amit explained that in the social context, the number of people following someone is similar to the number of links pointing to a page. We know Google ranks web pages on the number and quality of those links (amongst other factors). Amit explained it is not just about the number of Twitter followers, but also figuring out who the “reputed followers” are. Amit explained, “You earn reputation, and then you give reputation. If lots of people follow you, and then you follow someone–then even though this [new person] does not have lots of followers,” It is equated to a popularity contest.
“One user following another in social media is analogous to one page linking to another on the Web. Both are a form of recommendation,” Singhal says. “As high-quality pages link to another page on the Web, the quality of the linked-to page goes up. Likewise, in social media, as established users follow another user, the quality of the followed user goes up as well.”
To figure out when to show the real-time results is often complex. Google uses a “signal in the noise” methodology to figure out if and when to show these results. He also explained how hashtags in Twitter might be a signal of a lower quality tweet. The Technology Review said hashtags “serve as red flags to lower tweet quality and attract spam-like content.”