The Unavoidable Reason Social Search Can’t Work Alone

Posted by in Social Media & Online PR on September 2nd, 2009 1 Comment

It’s tempting to think that some kind of social search could topple Google but I don’t think Twitter search or anything similar will ever truely replace traditional search entirely.
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I think what will happen is there will be a blurring between what is social and what is search. It’s been around for years already but universal search, I think, was the first big step on what will become an inevitable journey, but I can’t see a purely ‘social’ search engine catching on.

Google was Academic vs Digg is like the charts

I like to think about the way the Google algorhythm works  very similarly to the world of academia. If you write a paper with your latest theory you might get some readers but if the big players in your discipline read and promote your work, then your paper could receive even more attention and the more you’ll get credence and respect in the future.
The bigger those names are and the more readers they have, the more trusted you’ll become and the more people will take your findings seriously. It works well as an analogy of search.

Digg and social media sites are much more like the pop charts. And like academia is seperate from pop culture, but getting closer, I think we’ll see the same in search/social

Mob Effect

It’s very easy to whip-up a mob mentality in social media. Over 10 thousand people signed a petition via twitter to reduce the cost of the new iPhone for people already on a contract. Most people know this is unlikely, but they signed up anyway. If you sign up for a 18 month contract you’re obligated for 18 months, but in the heat of the moment it’s easy to get caught up in the mob.

1%ers aren’t Representative

A great book I read a year or so ago brought to my attention to the concept of the 1%-ers. These are the people who go out of their way to partcipate in and create content on social sites. And the simple fact is 1% of people don’t represent the whole. They are different so don’t represent everyone. There’s a similar flaw in Google’s algorhythm (not everyone has a website) but I think it is becoming more apparent in social media.

Doesn’t Stop the Popular Becoming More Popular

Some people think it will democratise media. Wrong. It’ll probably just make the popular more popular. It’s common knowledge that more big media gets airtime on sites like digg now than it ever did in the past. They have got their fingers burnt, changed their policy slightly, and are now benefiting from the additional traffic.

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