Do you search your friends for answers?
This might be the trickiest question that Facebook faces in the wake of launching the new Graph Search.
IMPORTANT NOTE: this post is not going to to go into an explanation of Facebook’s new Graph Search for that please check out Nancy Blair from USA Today - Graph Search: You might just ‘like’ Facebook’s new search tool
In this post I want to discuss what the Graph Search might become.
Through my entire 5 years of practicing social media I’ve always related everything done on social media channels back to the same actions we do in the real world. Basically, real world actions. For example: we like things in the real world. I good cup of coffee, I beautiful woman, an event or promotion. So liking these things on Facebook is basically the same, instead of saying I like that you simply push a button. Other social media actions are translated the same way. For example: you read an interesting article and want to share it with friends – before Facebook we use to share all the time only through different means like email, now we simply press a button.
Social media has also encouraged new real world actions in the past 5 years. I guess this is to be expected. Relationships are symbiotic so our real wold – digital world actions are incumbent on each other. We post videos, jokes, images and quotes. Many of these post are done to make us feel important. For example: I always see people taking photos at restaurants and I’m assuming that their next action is to post them when they checkin at that restaurant.
So this social media relationship we have (real world with digital world) is important. In some ways social media works because of past behaviors and flourished because of the behaviors it created. This is where Graph Search from Facebook comes in.
What will Graph Search ultimately become?
Wall Street wants Graph Search to help Facebook’s bottom line. Will it? I believe we are a ways off from seeing if this is possible. Facebook is smart enough to find ways to include ads into Graph Search. I am sure you will be seeing a lot of local businesses stepping up to have an ad included into the Graph Search much like Google does with businesses on local search.
I believe Facebook looks at Graph Search from a different lens. Not having spent anytime with Graph Search yet I bet that it does exactly the reverse of what Facebook advertising does. As a Facebook advertiser you have the ability to target your ad based on very specific niche data that Facebook obtains through user profiles and posts. Based on what I’ve seen from Graph Search – Facebook will provide the opposite of this data in a search. You will have the ability to see: people, brands, images and posts based on specific search criteria. Instead of targeting a group of people – you will be targeting a set of data.
But do Facebook users really want to ask questions on Facebook? Do they want to search something? This is where I go back to real world behaviors. Why do I search something? I search information for work, I search questions in my home life and I search locations when I’m out and about. Are the answers I’m looking for really on Facebook?
As of right now I would say 50/50. But not enough for me not to use Google
But what about social questions? Example: Where does Bob work? Or Is Gina married to Steve?
Graph Search’s biggest hurdle might be making us feel comfortable asking personal questions about others on Facebook? I find it fascinating if Facebook can condition us to do this. If they can, the behavior switch would be incredible. Why call or text Bob about where he works when you can just search it?
What do you think? What will Facebook’s Graph Search ultimately become?