Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Definitions of Social Search

Over the next couple of months I am going to comment on the world of Social Search! I am just about to start a dissertation on the effectiveness of search engine marketing (SEM). I am intrigued to find out whether what I have been hearing is correct. Is social search going to become the new big thing and give search engines a run for their money? Already I have read a number of conflicting views on this subject.

There have already been dramatic developments with company after company jumping on the band wagon with the introduction of social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Myspace (for the little nippers) and Friendster (for teenage ninja turtles..only joking). I have to say I am a member of facebook and despite being a little reluctant to use the site at first; I am now quite a big fan.
Social networks are already pulling in a significant and increasing number of web users.

It is a new subject to me but I plan on becoming an “expert”-so watch this space!

My research into social search so far has been mainly focused upon definitions, other people’s ideas and the latest news. I felt it important to find out all I can on social search before I can cast a critical eye.

So what is Social Search?

Social search is a type of social networking. Before internet and major search sites, such as Google, social networking was our way of collaborating information on services, products or anything for that matter. For example asking a neighbor for advice on a good hairdresser - now we'd just type it into Google! Social networking is extremely old and it was really a matter of time before someone bought it online. Social networking as defined by Google as 'a map of the relationships between individuals, indicating the ways in which they are connected through various social familiarities ranging from casual acquaintance to close familial bonds'.

Written in simple terms, social search tools provide users with way finding services conversant by human judgement.

I have searched meticulously for the different types of social search tools which are around. I decided categorising them was the easiest way. However, there are many different terms, descriptions and groups that have been used to describe the many diverse social search tools. Below are some of the most popular social search tools and i have placed them under headings which i felt were most appropriate.

Social Bookmarking Sites
Social bookmarking sites are sites that allow the user to save a particular page into their favourites, using tags to catalogue and arrange them. These bookmarks are then added to their own compilation and can be shared with other users.

The top 10 Social Bookmarking sites are (

Yahoo MyWeb

Social Networking Sites
Social networking sites offer a virtual community to people with similar interests, hobbies or for those that like to "hang out". Communication between users is brought on through voice, chat, instant messages, videoconference and blogs.

The most popular Social Networking sites:

Social Tagging
Social tagging is a popular way to locate, classify, rank, and share Internet resources through the use of shared lists of user-created Internet bookmarks.It is a way of recommending sites to other web users.

Two examples of social tagging sites are Stumble Upon and Eurekster.

I found loads of different views, even on the definitions, so if anyone has any comments or things to add please feel free. I would love to hear some different opinions.

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At February 28, 2007 11:04 pm, Blogger Arnaud Fischer - user-obsessed & competition-paranoid said...

Bethan, pretty good definition. To paraphrase smarter people, Microsoft's Naam, it’s like every human being is a neuron, and humanity as a whole is one giant brain, smarter as a connected whole. Chris Sherman defines social search as way finding tools informed by human judgment. Social search is definitely people helping people find stuff.

At March 01, 2007 9:58 am, Blogger kelvin newman said...

Not so bad definitions, In terms of the disseration I thought you might be interested in mine which I wrote a couple of years ago to do with online forums.

Inevitably its a little out of date now, but I still think you might find it interesting i know when I was writing mine I had trouble finding much written about forums that was in any way academic.


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