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The Challenge to Search will come in the form of a Status Update

by Scott Hoffman on December 16, 2009

Content should come to us, we shouldn’t have to always seek it out. Good Content that matches our senses and sensibilities should be curated for us easily and automatically. There was never a mechanism to do this before, but there is now; the challenge to search will come from the status update.

The web is changing rapidly. Billions and billions of additional pieces of content (created by you and me) are coming online daily. This rapid expansion of content will not slow down, it will continue to grow exponentially.

Over the past few days a conversation has been going on over at Michael Arrington’s Techcrunch “The End Of Hand Crafted Content”, Fred Wilson’s AVC “Social Beats Search,” Chris Dixon’s Blog “Search and the social graph,” and Richard MacManus’s Read Write Web “Content Farms: Why Media, Blogs & Google Should Be Worried” about the fact that this proliferation of content is confounding the search engines, is challenging the web experience. I couldn’t agree more.

I would like to suggest another way to look at the issue. In the next few years, search may lose it’s dominance as the primary way that we find content – challenge by the status update.

Everyday we, the collective internet, literally tell each other about ourselves in the form of the status update – this is the truest representation of who we are.

facebook-status-update-pm-thumb-270x270

Status updates can be very revealing

When I update my status on Facebook or Twitter, I am telling the world what I am doing, thinking about, interested in, etc…add in location, time, and sentiment and I have just given you an active message that can be translated and married to content that satiates me as a person. My personal status update stream that constantly mentions the Miami Dolphins, should be taken as a signal that I am not only Fan, but actively engaged at this exact moment of the publication of the status update. Scores, Stats, News Stories, Merchandise are important to me, at that moment. When I update my status sharing that I am at a Bob Mould concert, which reveals another signal. Think about all the life changing events that we reveal in our status updates: I just got engaged, I am having a baby, today’s my first day (or last) on the job, I just got accepted to College, etc.

Search will continue to exist, but we can and should build a smarter system to get collective knowledge from the web than that.

The idea of content coming to us is not new. History is littered with successful (iGoogle) and unsuccessful (Pointcast) attempts at this concept. This environment is different. When consumers announce their online personalities, the cumbersome set-up and refresh process of telling these services what your interested in disappears. Content aggregation around your personality happens in real time, and reflects what your interested in, while your interested it. Think about it, when is the last time you updated your musical preferences on your social network of choice?

Don’t think this is possible? On Facebook alone there are 45 MM status updates a day (Yes, A DAY) and it is estimated that there are another 27 MM tweets (the equivalent of a Status Update) on Twitter every day. That should represent enough of a signal to determine what we are thinking, collectively and as individuals. Matching that to content that is timely and relevant is the next logical step.

Am I crazy? Let me know

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  • billrob458

    A tweet I recently did is a prime example of that:

    Just ruined another skillet. What type of skillet do I need to buy where I can use a knife inside it to cut things?

    Rather than google searching for an answer, I decided to ask my social sphere. Their opinion on the matter is much more important to me than google shopping.

  • http://hapnin.com/users/2 theschnaz

    “Content should come to us, we shouldn’t have to always seek it out.” I love that opening line. I've had this idea in my head for a while and have been calling it passive search.

    I'm starting to see this on sites like getglue.com and plancast. Here, my friends recommend or like things and I'm notified. It can be a great way to find your next book or what's going on Friday night.

  • http://www.cliqology.com scotthoffman

    Bill, thanks for the insight – would you welcome the information if it automatically came to you or do you need to “search” for it?

  • http://www.cliqology.com scotthoffman

    Thanks for you thoughts…I think that we are at a tipping point right now. You will see some innovation coming down the pike.

  • billrob458

    A tweet I recently did is a prime example of that:

    Just ruined another skillet. What type of skillet do I need to buy where I can use a knife inside it to cut things?

    Rather than google searching for an answer, I decided to ask my social sphere. Their opinion on the matter is much more important to me than google shopping.

  • http://hapnin.com/users/2 theschnaz

    “Content should come to us, we shouldn’t have to always seek it out.” I love that opening line. I've had this idea in my head for a while and have been calling it passive search.

    I'm starting to see this on sites like getglue.com and plancast. Here, my friends recommend or like things and I'm notified. It can be a great way to find your next book or what's going on Friday night.

  • http://www.cliqology.com scotthoffman

    Bill, thanks for the insight – would you welcome the information if it automatically came to you or do you need to “search” for it?

  • http://www.cliqology.com scotthoffman

    Thanks for you thoughts…I think that we are at a tipping point right now. You will see some innovation coming down the pike.

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  • Pingback: 75 Million Internet Users Now Post Status Updates Once per Week #SM #Twitter #Facebook

  • Pingback: 75 Million Internet Users Now Post Status Updates Once per Week #SM #Twitter #Facebook

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