Thursday, 11 December 2008

Socially Connected Search

Mark Ury put a link on Twitter that poses an interesting theory about email as the social network. Om Malik also referred to this in his post a year back asking the question, is email the ultimate social network?

Leaving aside the fact that the younger generation is using email less as a means of communication, I have to wonder as we become more ingrained in network culture, if the notion of email as the platform is completely missing the mark?

While our address books are certainly reflective of who we know, email is for the most part a means of communication with our strong ties. One of the advantages of social networks are its ability to leverage the connections of our weak ties as we all acknowledge that in real life, managing 250 'friends' would be a pretty difficult task.

So I'm not buying what Om says in his post:

"The only way for Yahoo or Google to challenge the social networking incumbents like Facebook [is] to leverage their email infrastructure ..."

Why? Because to me, Google in particular has another infrastructure that seems much more relevant - their search infrastructure. While everyone focuses on serving more relevant and 'personalized' ads, I have to wonder why they aren't also putting equal focusing on connecting people who search for like minded information? After all, if they did that, then as I developed those connections over time, I could then start to search like those individuals I'm connected to or see what content they thought was most relevant based on their searches - and even discover new searches that might be of interest to me?

I've touched on this type of search before. So in my mind it won't be email as a socially connected platform, it will be search.

(This blog post was written with a baby in my arms so excuse any mistakes or fumbled grammar :)

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