Prior to this week, I believed that most activities on the internet could be divided into two unique categories: social and informational. When I wanted to be social, I would log in to services like Facebook and Twitter and see how my friends are interacting with the social side of the internet. Then, when I had information to gather, I would switch to services like Google or Amazon to collect data, make purchases, and basically read the infinite amount of information the internet had to offer. Recently, the line seemed to get more and more blurred with the addition of social buttons included on most websites allowing users to share purchases or content with friends on social media. Little did I realize, not only has the line blurred more than I ever imagined, but in fact, it is almost non-existent with the use of social graphs and Google+.
In the first few articles of this week’s readings, particularly the one by Dickinson, we are introduced to the social graph (shown right) and are given our first indication of the level of involvement with the user at the center and all of their different interactions with the internet surrounding in the form of different actions. Our interactions are then assigned different scores based on level of engagement and whether our friends are connected to the same interaction. If a site or link or company earns a higher score, their post is more likely to show up on users’ news feed and stay there for longer. It is here that we begin to see the implications of this social graph and the way we interact with the internet as a whole. In the Forbes article, it is clarified that this practice currently only stays internal to Facebook and its operations, but author Shel Israel suggests that this may not be the practice for long and may spread outside the walls of Facebook and into the larger internet, evidenced by Facebook’s collaboration with Bing. In the article from Broadsworld, we look deeper into the scoring system and realize that almost all of our interactions with Facebook are important to companies even when we “Like” and never return. Therefore, as users of Facebook, we become marketers for companies that we “Like” and share without even knowing it. Knowing this valuable information, we are then given tips for improving engagement with our users through content that encourages “Likes” and comments. As a common theme in our readings, even simply asking for engagement can be a successful tool in building engagement.
From the information gathering end of the spectrum, we are also introduced to Google+ on a more in depth basis and read of the ways it has changed Google search to encourage human interaction and sharing. Google has put more of an emphasis on authorship in its search results and the best way to prove authorship is through Google+. By confirming authorship and even being a part of many “circles” Google has changed the way it makes search results relevant to the searcher. In the article by Brian Clark, positive and negative effects of this strategy are discussed but the overall message is apparent: the times are changing and that change is inevitable. For content builders, these changes should be looked at as positive and a challenge to create good content should be accepted and even accompanied by enthusiasm because both new worlds seem to be rewarding our desire to engage with our customers and have our content read by people who share that interest.
What do you think of this “mixing” of the worlds? Should you social media life play a role in what you see when you search online?
What are potential pit falls to this model that you can see arising? Is privacy a concern?
How does knowing this link between the two worlds effect how you plan to “use” the internet in the future?