Reading Response 5: Google vs. Facebook – The Social Search


            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 GraphActionObjectintroduced 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?


7 thoughts on “Reading Response 5: Google vs. Facebook – The Social Search

  1. I like the interplay between social and search. My biggest complaint is with transparency and control. If we are actively choosing to be involved on a social network–whether it’s Facebook, Google+ or something else–then we should be able to know and choose who receives our content and what content we receive. There’s a lot of murkiness in both of those areas, and to be honest, most of us are blind to it all. That can be frustrating once you’re aware, but it’s compounded from a business standpoint if you’re making an investment in social, do everything “right,” and still might not be able to yield results because of factors that are beyond your control.

    • “If we are actively choosing to be involved…then we should be able to know and choose who receives our content”
      This is a great point and definitely something to think about. I suppose social media companies would respond with “well, this is what we ask in return for giving you the privilege of using our site.” Thanks for the feedback!

  2. In my personal life, and on my personal social media sites, I want total control – of who can see what, when, and where on search engines. Now, in contrast, on my business platforms, I want everything to be seen by as many people as possible and on every search engine. It is a fine line between business and pleasure, particularly when, with many small businesses, the owner is the face of the business. Google+ and Facebook provide 2 platforms that I can toggle between to achieve both of those goals. However, an integrated platform with very specific privacy controls would be ideal.

    • I agree with Lesley that for personal social media sites you want to have total control. With social media you have to go in knowing how much information you want to put out and share because once you put it out there it can be tracked and data can be collected. I’m realizing that for a brand it is most beneficial to have both a Facebook and Google+ to achieve a searchable online presence.

  3. I agree with Lesley, when it comes to my personal life I want to control who sees what. I didn’t realize so much of the information I put on Facebook (like my relationship status) affected my Edegrank. I there is a fine line between between sharing and invasion of privacy on the internet. I don’t think my personal life should be be searchable or relevant on the internet. I also think Google+ does a great job of allowing you to control who sees what. I wish more social media outlets incorporated this into their site.

  4. I think we have to consider that our social media life plays a role in what we search, especially if our passwords are saved in the computers we use to look things up at all times. Every time we share a link or look something, those cookies are being saved and potentially shared (SUPER COOKIES!) with someone or a source that we might not know about. I’m not sure that I agree with, I just understand that it is happening and we can’t change it.

    An additional sad part– it won’t really change how I do anything when it comes to utilizing the internet or my searches. I respect privacy, others and my own, but I know what they can get from and about me at all times. Unless I am some sort of stealth super agent (which I am not) a ton of my information is constantly being divulged. To get paranoid now just seems to be slightly too much.

    But, when it comes to social media sites, I love have restrictions when it comes to who can and can’t see information. That is a great thing that I think can help monitor who is seeing what you want them to about you. Hopefully we can continue to keep this in place moving forward.

  5. Thanks for the great replies! There are a lot of moral and privacy issues that arise with social media and it must be so difficult to create policy on! Speaking of policy, how often do we just “Agree to Terms” on services without really reading the “terms?”

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