May 15, 2013
To many users, Facebook may be seen as simply a social networking site with the occasionally annoying targeted ads. However, the marketing and advertising potential is nothing short of fulfilled. The Daily Dot offers a look at the results of mathematician Stephen Wolfram’s Personal Analytics for Facebook — an important step in the direction of the actualization of marketing potential. We were not surprised to see that “This is the Average Facebook User’s Life According to Big Data” seems at least a little creepy.
Wolfram found that people have, on average, about 342 Facebook friends. This number peaks for people in their late teenage years and then declines. What we found most interesting is that Wolfram compared his data on relationship statuses with those collected by the United States census and the two datasets were almost identical.
The article shares more on how and why this information was collected:
“Wolfram gathered this data from more than one million Facebook subscribers who signed up for Wolfram Alpha Personal Analytics for Facebook, a tool that takes a person’s facts on the social network to create personalized reports. He then parsed this information to create a series of very revelatory graphs. ‘I’ve always been interested in people and the trajectories of their lives,’ Wolfram writes. ‘But I’ve never been able to combine that with my interest in science. Until now.’”
Marketers and Facebook users alike are intrigued by what the characteristics the average Facebook user has. It comes at little surprise that people voluntarily signed up to participate and that the interest to collect this kind of information has materialized.
Megan Feil, May 15, 2013
May 12, 2013
It still remains that if you are not on Facebook you might as well not have a digital identity, but according to Yahoo Finance, “Facebook Is Losing Millions Of Users In The Us And Other Mature Markets.” Facebook has been preparing to inform its investors on performance in the US, UK, and other major European countries and the data shows that users have peaked for these areas, despite a 36% revenue gain on last year. In the last six months alone, Facebook has lost 9 million US visitors and 2 million in the UK.
“’The problem is that, in the US and UK, most people who want to sign up for Facebook have already done it,’ said new media specialist Ian Maude at Enders Analysis. ‘There is a boredom factor where people like to try something new. Is Facebook going to go the way of MySpace? The risk is relatively small, but that is not to say it isn’t there.”’
As the newness wears off, many users are turning to alternative networks like Instagram, Path, Pininterst, StumbleUpon, etc. Americans may be keeping their Facebook accounts, but they are spending less and less time on the Web site. This has been linked to the growing usage of tablets and smartphones. Mobile is almost a quarter of Facebook’s advertising income in 2012 and there is a steady stream of continued mobile usage. To maintain its relevancy, Mark Zuckerberg is digging for new initiatives. MySpace and Livejournal tried the same thing. Does Facebook have the capacity to outlive the zeitgeist? For a little while anyway.
Whitney Grace, May 12, 2013
April 11, 2013
Shifting communication habits strike again. Yahoo News declares, “Youth Flock to Mobile Messaging Apps, May Be Threat to Facebook.” There are now a number of apps (like Kik and Whatsapp) that facilitate messaging and sharing faster and easier than by going through Facebook on a smartphone. Not surprisingly, these have become popular with the youth demographic. How does one search in a meaningful way these types of content objects? Answer: With a great deal of effort.
Writers Gerry Shih and Alexei Oreskovic concede that most users of these apps aren’t going to close out their Facebook accounts anytime soon, and that the social giant is well-positioned to weather threats. Still, these challengers could see noteworthy success, especially as they encroach on the networking-platform territory. The article tells us:
“While established social networks move to incorporate messaging features, the new-wave messaging apps are looking to grow into social networking platforms that support a variety of features and enable innovations from outside developers.
“‘The tried and true approach for a social network is first you build a network, then you build apps on your own, then you open it up to third party developers,’ said Charles Hudson, a partner at early stage venture capital firm SoftTech VC.
“The moves mirror Facebook’s younger days, when its user growth and revenues were boosted by game publishers like Zynga Inc, which made popular games like FarmVille for the Facebook platform.”
Ah, but when Zuckerberg began, he was building something completely new. Can these contenders serve up something as unique before the giant can pivot?
See the article for more analysis of the issue. The writers conclude with their prediction: that Facebook and the other “established” players (Google+? LinkedIn?) will solve the problem by simply gobbling up the young app companies. That would indeed solve the problem.
Cynthia Murrell, April 11, 2013
April 10, 2013
Short honk. In response to client requests, ArnoldIT’s Augmentext service has added a new line up of social media services. These range from third-party comments to posting images and original articles. For more information, navigate to Augmentext Social. To get a free price quote, write seaky2000 at yahoo.com.
Stephen E Arnold, April 10, 2013
March 19, 2013
Despite numerous rumors and requests pleading for the contrary, it appears Facebook will not be pursuing external search. The intentions are laid out in the article on Search Engine Land titled “Facebook: No Plans For An External Search Engine.”
The article reveals comments from Grady Burnett, Vice President of Global Marketing Solutions for Facebook, who stated that the social media giant has no plans or intentions to launch an external search engine, such as that run by Google or Bing.
The article includes an excerpt from the live blog coverage of the SMX West keynote address from Burnett:
“DS: Do you ever see Facebook wanting a dedicated search product outside of Facebook? Mentions the past rumors that Facebook might buy Bing from MSFT.
GB: I don’t see that happening. We called it ‘Graph Search’ because we’re focused on letting people search the Facebook graph. So my answer would be no.”
The James Bond Film “Never Say Never” comes to mind when we hear these kinds of statements. We think that given some time, this is not the last we will hear from Facebook on this topic. As the company explores the possibilities of graph search, the improved search capabilities discovered in the process could just be the nudge that is needed to jump into external search.
Andrea Hayden, March 19, 2013
March 1, 2013
I read “Facebook Gives Examples to Jumpstart Usage of Graph Search, Which It May Have Spent Too Long Building.” The main point is that Facebook fiddled and Rome burned. Now, Rome has to be rebuilt on property another empire owns.
Poor Facebook. The company muffed its IPO. Then Facebook cratered with Timeline. Now all those Xooglers have crafted a search which has to be “jumpstarted” like my first automobile, a 1955 Oldsmobile with no passenger side door.
Here’s the part of the analysis I found interesting:
Are any of those things you’d search for regularly, if ever? Maybe you’d take the occasional sweep through nostalgic content, look at recommendations for a vacation, or go hunting for new distractions. However, there’s little chance you’ll spend nearly as much time Graph Searching as browsing the daily refresh of status updates and photos from your close friends. That’s a little worrisome, especially since it follows a trend. In September 2011, Facebook’s big launch was Timeline. Beautiful, sure. But how often do you dive years back into your profile, or those of friends? Facebook poured tons of resources into the ability to call up historic content. For what? When I visit most people’s profiles, I look at their recent photos, last few posts, and About section. All of these were handled just fine by the old version of the profile. Adding cover images may have been sufficient.
Yep, worrisome for a free service in beta too. And who is pronouncing Facebook search a dead Oldsmobile?
- Facebook cannot emulate Google’s brute force search. Google is eating some hefty costs, and Facebook wants to avoid a 1996 style financial black hole.
- Facebook knows ads and search are hooked. The Xooglers have explained why head to head ad fights with Google is not such a good idea. Therefore, the Facebook folks are looking for an angle. Notice I did not say, “Found.”
- Facebook has a thinner tightrope to walk than Google. Facebook can do many things with its content and metadata. Figuring out what combination will yield the most money and the fewest hassles will take time.
Skip the criticism. Track the deltas. Facebook may fail. So what? The journey is a free education for those not innovating.
Stephen E Arnold, February 28, 2013
February 28, 2013
Facebook Graph Search has been making headlines. However, most of these headlines are in response to the fact that this has been too long in coming. Facebook finally has search. Now that the shock is over, experts are turning to analysis of how the search function works and how it may benefit individuals and organizations. Jamie Yap does just that in her ZDNet article, “Graph Search Capabilities Offer Enterprise Benefits.”
After an introduction to the search service and how it works, the author continues:
“Commenting on the new feature, Jake Wengroff, social technologies analyst at Gleanster, an analyst firm, said Facebook is essentially injecting natural language processing functionality to its search algorithm so results can be delivered more intuitively and naturally. The underlying concept of graph search has potential in the enterprise setting. This functionality has a strong opportunity in the enterprise space and will ‘galvanize’ the social software industry to develop similar search capabilities for various purposes, Wengroff added.”
Some are even predicting that Graph Search could fill in the gaps left by customer relationship management solutions. Marketing is another definite application for this type of search solution. For those who are in the market for a more traditional enterprise search application, LucidWorks cannot be beat. Perfect for making sense of Big Data or making sense of internal documents, LucidWorks stands on its trusted name and the Lucene/Solr open source community.
Emily Rae Aldridge, February 28, 2013
February 19, 2013
According to “How Facebook Made Me Search In Strange New Ways” from Search Engine Land, Facebook Graph Search has changed the way people search or at least wants to. Before social networking, people used to actively search with search engines because an action influenced them. With social networking, people are passively discovering information that they never knew they wanted to know all due to network connections.
Graph Search will not replace Google, because it does not search the entire Web. It only contains social information, in other words a social search:
““Social search is a means of uncovering information, to fill a knowledge gap taking into account crowd sourced information from your network, which contains information from a reputable source within your network, giving more of a credible touch to the content.”
Graph Search does not have all of this, but with some improvements it can. It can get better by adding general searching, i.e. only search through Facebook while Bing picks up the regular Web and the social network. The image search can use tweaking by searching tags and captions. Also the Facebook auto complete feature is annoying and is down right wrong sometimes.
Graph Search is not grasping the basic search engine fundamentals and needs to add them to even think about being competitive. The “graph” will probably be the next wave in social networking, so it is necessary to get on it.
Whitney Grace, February 19, 2013
February 16, 2013
I think there is or was a television program about the “real world.” I am hazy on this, but I perceive “reality television” as a semi scripted, low cost way to fill the gaping maw of 24×7 programming at a bargain basement price. In fact, when anyone suggests that something is “real” I take a second look. This applies to “real stories”, “real life examples”, and “real consulting insights”. In today’s world, the notion of “real” is slippery. I think of Plato, Hollywood special effects, and marketing baloney.
I read “You’re Not Gonna Like It: Facebook’s New Search Struggles with the Real World.” The title caught my attention because of its use of the familiar “you,” the word “gonna”, the inclusion of “search”, and the phrase “real world.” In a horse race there is a big payday from picking win, place, and show. Here the headline snags the top four spots in the social media World Cup.
The article points out that some of the features of Facebook search need to be rethought. That’s a fair statement. The product is a beta and represents the first somewhat edible fruit of the marriage between the Facebook crowd, the injected Googlers, and the post IPO attention of the kind and loving stakeholders.
Facebook has to produce revenues, keep its costs under control, and cope with a number of darned exciting issues. These include the mandatory registration Google has slapped on Google Plus and the awareness by some Facebookers that there may be something else to do with the time invested in posting information about one’s comings and goings.
Here’s the passage I noted:
Facebook launched Graph Search at a big press event at its Menlo Park, CA headquarters almost exactly one month ago. CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered a large part of the event keynote himself, highlighting the feature as one of three “pillars of Facebook” alongside the News Feed and Timeline. Graph Search is supposed to help you gather friends for a Twin Peaks marathon, find photos taken in London on your last trip, and see which sushi places are most popular among your friends. After a month of testing Graph Search, I’ve found that it’s fantastic at finding people and photos, but not so good at finding anything else.
Is any search system able to do more than one or two things well? Google does the ad thing. Lexis does the legal laundry list thing. Chemical Abstracts does the structure thing. Sure, these systems purport to provide more functions than a bucket of Swiss Army knives.
But the reality of search and information retrieval is that each system has a strength. Each system has gaps, blind spots, and stuff that just does not work as the users expect.
The write up identifies some of Facebook’s notable gaps; for example, dirty data. Don’t most Facebook users perceive content in Facebook is as accurate?
Net net: Facebook social search is a beta. What changes are coming? Wait and see.
Stephen E Arnold, February 16, 2013
February 14, 2013
It looks like victory is approaching for Google. The International Business Times reports, “Google Plus Becomes No. 2 Social Network After Facebook, Knocking Off Twitter.” I guess that’s what mandatory registration will do for a social network.
The article cites a recent report from Global Web Index, which found that the number of Google+‘s active users grew by 27 percent in the last quarter of 2012. On top of that, Google’s property YouTube came in at number three. This was the first time that site was included in this social-network tracking study. Facebook maintains its healthy lead, though, with nearly 693 million active users to Google+’s 343 million and YouTube’s 300 million.
Writer Dave Smith points out that Google+ and YouTube both benefit from their close user-base integration. He notes some other smart moves on Google’s part:
“Not too long ago, Google Plus was against the ropes, struggling to maintain traffic and momentum after its public debut. The site, at the time, looked very plain and lacked any real key differentiator from Facebook, besides its video chat offering, Hangouts.
“In about a year and a half, Google has done many things to beef up its social offering, giving it a new design, new technology and a really sleek mobile application. But the best thing Google did in the last 16 months — something its competitors should learn from — is learning how to seamlessly integrate its services.”
Smith believes that capturing the second and third spots stands as a declaration of Google’s Internet dominance. He also praises Google+ as a (now) well-designed app. See the article for more of his observations on the resurgent social network.
Cynthia Murrell, February 14, 2013