Facebook Graph Search to Harness Social Data

Last week, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook announced the social media giant’s newest feature: Graph Search. If the News Feed and Timeline are the first two pillars of Facebook usage, Zuckerberg believes that this is the third.

Three Pillars

So what does it do?

Essentially, Graph Search allows Facebook users to sift through the information shared with them from other users. In other words, I could search for restaurants that my friends have been to in the New York City area. Or, for example, I could search for photos that I Liked on Facebook before 2003.

Google is to web results as Graph Search is to social results.

So why does it matter?

I’ll be the first to say that this introduction definitely matters, and Facebook absolutely needed it. We are all used to Facebook implementing changes and new designs, and we are all used to complaining about it for weeks afterward (until we all get used to it and then all of a sudden can’t imagine life without the Timeline). But this is vastly different than those occasions.

Graph Search is finally going to harvest, organize, and utilize the massive amount of information that is available on Facebook. That information, friends, is powerful stuff.

I think, broadly, Graph Search will do two things:

1. Provide an added benefit to users.

Pretty regularly, I see a friend of mine post something on Facebook basically asking their friends for a recommendation. Today, it was for a pediatrician in the Greece, NY area. But that’s just a simple example. People ask for advice from friends all the time. Now, with Graph Search, this will be easier and more productive.

Facebook will be able to aid individuals in decision-making.

2. Make it significantly more important for brands to connect with users on Facebook.

If Facebook is going to be used to help people make decisions about what restaurants to dine at, which store to make shop at, and which bands to listen to, it instantly becomes hugely more important for brands to connect with fans on the platform to take advantage of the search results that it can lead to.

Facebook, and social media in general, are sometimes ignored by businesses because it’s difficult to see results, and it’s difficult to sell anything. Graph Search will greatly improve ROI, because the third-party endorsements that are made on Facebook will be more accessible and widely used. If businesses choose to ignore Facebook, after the introduction and implementation of Graph Search, they will surely be missing out on valuable endorsements.

Graph Search

Do you think Graph Search will benefit Facebook’s long-term financial health?

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About Jim Mignano

Jim Mignano is a young professional practicing and learning Public Relations in Rochester, NY. He is passionate about the possibilities that digital media provide and loves utilizing new platforms for a variety of functions. James' blog is about people and the technology they use. It's about communication and persuasion... the old and the new ways of doing things... the struggle between sticking to the tried, true recipes and experimenting with intuitive, innovative ideas. It's an extension and reflection of James himself: the convergence of ambition & ability.
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2 Responses to Facebook Graph Search to Harness Social Data

  1. Mark Trova says:

    Jim,

    I love this. Not just the post, but the feature as well. The comparison you made between graph search and Google search really framed it for me in such a way that I can really see how this will be a successful addition to the Facebook experience. Facebook is losing market share to Twitter, and even the new and improved MySpace (seriously…), so this detail might help them as you said with “their long term financial health.”

    What I’m curious to know is how is the data collected? Let’s use that New York City restaurant example from above. Does Facebook check our posts to see if we mention a restaurant from NYC, or does it only know to search if we use Facebook’s check-in function? Because either way, you could get some faulty data.

    Regardless, great read and good stuff. Can’t wait to Graph Search bars in South Carolina.

    Mark

    • jmignano10 says:

      Mark,

      I’m honestly not sure of the specifics of what data Facebook will utilize for the search. But I think it’s safe to assume that check-ins and likes and, in general, engagement with a page on Facebook will be included. That’s why it’s so important for that engagement to occur.

      And, by the way, OBX is in North Carolina, not South. Fool.

      Jim

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