Search is great! I use it everyday. Many times a day in fact. You are welcome Google and Bing! I get great results and it is super fast. But let’s face it, Search is not discovery. When I go to Google or Bing, I am in “find it” mode. I have hit a problem where I need a particular item or piece of information from the web — an article, a person, a video, a service — but I don’t remember the url or know it. I know what I am looking for; I usually already have the query in my mind when I open up Google or Bing. Yes, that’s right, I use Google as a navigational tool. I don’t need bookmarks, nor do I want them. Google has organized the web for me — I just search and find what I am looking for. ”What I am looking for” is the key point of distinction here: Search is not discovery. It used to be discovery of what was out there, but now it is just navigational support.
So let’s get to my top 5 reasons why Social is about discovery — a lot more than Search.
#5 Social is entertaining and a utility. Search is pure utility.
It is true. I go to search to find something I know is out there. I engage in social to be entertained, to connect and to discover new information, ideas and opinions!
#4 Social is a leading source of information. Search is a lagging source.
Let’s face it, Google is fast but only fast at retrieving things it already knows. When something is new or topical, Google takes time to figure it out, either gathering the data or processing the data. Social has the information flowing to you in minutes.
#3 Social has network effects. Search does not have network effects.
Search is a just a much better directory mining a network. Social bring the power of network effects to information discovery. People sharing information and the rate of sharing and discussion is a much better indicator of relevant or topicality than how many back links that piece of content has on its page.
#2 Social is part of our make up or psychology.
It is human to share and communicate new or relevant information. Search is just a much better enclycopedia, dictionary, roadmap, yellow pages – very useful but something we don’t love. Humans love to interact with others, Social is ingrained in how we live and work. Social is the technology powered water cooler, coffee shop, fireside chat.
#1 Social is curated by humans.
And I curate the humans that I follow. Search is curated by lots of $100 boxes and a machine-learning algorithm.
The human brain is incredible. The ability of the human brain to make decisions and judge what is relevant to that human is much greater than the machine-learning algorithms at Google or Bing. Just go ask them how the big search engines measure relevance — it’s with Humans looking at the results! Social has the power of a two-step human intelligence. First, Social is created and curated by humans. It is the true wisdom of the crowd that is telling us what is relevant. Second, we are participants curate who we listen to, who is in our network. This creates a second order human curation effect that makes this world so personally relevant to me. And why social will also beat search for content discovery.
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