Category Archives: Search

Social – The New Personal

Here is the thing about social – it is inherently personal…

The connections we choose to make define us… adage as it maybe – a man is known by the connections he makes. We can assume in 2011 that it is true for women as well. So, our social circle or our web is created mostly by the personal choices that we make. It is a sort of a “friendrank” – where the friends we make on Facebook and the content we choose to like on the Facebook platform give the platform provider very good data about us. Visually it represents a globe with connected dots forming it’s own unique patterns that help us see the the world differently…

John Bettelle talks of Google as a database of intentions… I think of Facebook as a database of choices (we choose to share). The social data generated as a result is being made available to advertisers, service providers and content publishers, creating a more connected and personalized web.

Combining these two approaches (Google’s passive learning and Facebook’s active learning) will give the same advertisers, service providers and content publishers an even more complete picture for personalization… That is why the Bing/Facebook partnership is exciting… Ironically, it helps Google with it’s own BHAG – organizing the world’s information (value)… in a more personalized way (value-add). That is why Google feels  threatened by Facebook… and it should – Google’s attempt at socializing search with +1 is relatively weak to the Facebook/Bing alliance

The rivalry is exciting…makes for good news… But the consequences are more meaningful for the rest of us. We are going to be a more connected and open world. We are going to see better products, services and ads for those services and products. Some of these products and services will be launched by new startups that will build on the social platform (try and think of a Zynga without a Facebook). We will see new applications that use personalized datasets to helps us recognize patterns and analyze trends.

It is necessary for some of us to remain cynical because data security, identity management and personal security are going to be important. As we share more and more, there are going to be those that want to abuse this connectedness… So while we need to acknowledge and guard ourselves against those threats, it should not stop us from participating and contributing in these exciting times.

I envy the new generation… For me school was about cramming myself with knowledge in order to be connected to it; all the young ones need to feel connected is their iPhone (okay, or the much less secure Android phone). For research on school work I used to go to the library, look up volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica and then write the article devoid of any richness from understanding the perspective of others. For my little niece, it is going to be about googling it, reading all kinds of articles about it (Wikipedia, Quora, Blogs), while she also has the richness of the perspectives gained from Facebook comments of friends and connected strangers.

Yep… It is going to be a very different world.