Uw Digital Communications Social Media Is Not Search
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Uw Digital Communications Social Media Is Not Search

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I had the pleasure of speaking to one of the Digital Communication classes at the University of Washington on my favorite topic, why social media will never replace search as an information finding ...

I had the pleasure of speaking to one of the Digital Communication classes at the University of Washington on my favorite topic, why social media will never replace search as an information finding medium. Those students were wicked smart and I walked away learning a lot myself.

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  • I very much enjoyed speaking to your class and presenting my views on social media, search, their interdependent natures as well as illuminating some of the important issues surrounding optimizing for search engines that marketeers should be prepared to address (or at least know about). You can follow me on Twitter (msweeny) or Linked-in should you wish for a more regular dose of my heresy.
  • As marketing professionals, search engines will remain the best driver of customers and demand. This is because most of your customer are conditioned to turn to search engines to find information that they know but don’t (i.e. a specific online or physical address, factoids, etc) and information that they need but cannot articulate (opinions or background for decision-making, a more comprehensive view of a particular topic, etc). For the first type of information need, search engines tend to be very efficient as the searcher tends to be more precise in the search terms that they use. The second type of information need is more problematic because searchers don’t’ know what they don’t know and so cannot assist the search engine in retrieving what they need to find out.U.S. Searches (August 2009) – from Searchenginewatch.com10 billion searches total Google: 7 billion for 65% of market shareYahoo: 1.7 billion for 16% market shareBing: 1.2 billion for 10.7% market share
  • Resources for this slide:Using the Internet: Skill Related Problems in User Online Behavior; van Deursen & van Dijk; 2009System and Method of Encoding and Decoding Variable-length data: June 27, 2006http://www.worldwidewebsize.com/
  • The Web has grown faster and well beyond what its founders intended. If Tim Berners-Lee knew that we’d be posting billions of KB of video, images, social media posts, Web pages, ecommerce site, etc., he would not have selected HTTP as the hosting protocol. Now there is so much more than text to the online information that we consume and search engines are so lame at indexing and retrieving non-text materials. Added to this problem is the inability of searchers to work WITH the technology. Gone are the days of Academic power-users well-versed in Boolean syntax or Dialog query construction. However, the manner in which we store data has not fundamentally changed since these early days. Yes, there are There is no such thing as “advanced search” longer. We’re all lulled into the false sense that the search engine is smarter enough and we’re all “advanced” searchers as a result.Resources for this slide:Using the Internet: Skill Related Problems in User Online Behavior; van Deursen & van Dijk; 2009
  • I did a Facebook pool of my contact and the #1 search engine choice overwhelmingly was Google. When pressed to try out another search engine (Yahoo or Bing anyone?) or to justify their initial choice, the response was “No, because Google works best and that is what I want.” Now, there is a slight difference in the ordering of the top 30 results for a query when pushed through the 3 big search engines. Note to Bing: Folks do not want a “decision engine.” They want to find something that looks like what they think that they are looking for but are not sure they will recognize.Resources used for this slide:Using the Internet: Skill Related Problems in User Online Behavior; van Deursen & van Dijk; 2009
  • Social media has a unique purpose to connect people of like interests. It started with sharing personal experiences with a selected group (IM, FB/My Space, Skype, Twitter, etc) This purpose has extended over time to include business networking (Linked-in, Plaxo, Yammer, etc). Now, many of these have been co-opted for marketing purposes. My belief is that there is more value in treating these as a channel for “listening to” your customers than for outreach. Looking at the data from usage, the #1 activity for social media is not tweeting or playing games on FB, it is posting pictures and watching videos…and they are very discriminating on which videos that they watch. The more that you require from the consumer of a social application, the steeper the drop in participation.At a terrific MIT Forum panel discussion on the uses of social media and there was strong consensus that any marketing initiative should start with the question: “What is in it for the customer?” What do they get that is of value in following you or “letting you” follow them?
  • Key activity is still passive digestion of online materialsSearch dominates the information finding activity. They start with a search engine and then go to social media from there. This is a symbiotic relationship with search more often than not as the initiator. That is not to say that some will turn to their network for answers some of the time. However, customers generally prefer some Web search experience in a search for information.
  • The great run up in Twitter adoption has taken on a more realistic turn as the media hype moved to another flavor of connection and the initial adoptees became more discriminating on whom they follow and whom they let “follow” them.Of greater interest is the pattern that we saw in previous studies on social media use. There is a long tail with Twitter that sees a great majority of the users following few and posting few tweets. So, the “key influencers” seem to be tweeting to and for themselves.
  • Started as a college classroom communication medium. Soon far exceeded its original intent to include college form of My SpaceNow taken over by the masses and used as a marketing communication medium, entertainment dissemination medium Attempts to segment have been unsuccessfulPrivacy concerns caused reputation damage in 2009Many applications but few players – signups do not equal useFundamental question for any application, marketing page or fan club is….”What’s in it for the customer?”
  • Search optimization and social media do intersect with concrete value found in the business intelligence that can be gathered and the information discovered from various social networksI follow: Jared Spool, other known information architects and Neil Gamin among others.
  • With the advent of Authority-based relevance (HITS/Hilltop algorithms), social media became a valuable resource for high quality links. Then Bobo SEO started gaming the system and the links from blogs and forums became less value as they were categorized NOFOLLOW or as the rank of the originating site went down. In the last year+, the search engines have started deploying methods to deflect unnatural optimization and ensure contextual integrity. The value of indexing Twitter feeds remains to be seen.
  • As marketers, there are nuances to search engine demand generation that you should be aware of. I promote Strategic or Proactive SEO because it is much easier to build an optimized site than to optimize an existing one. “An architect’s most useful tools are an eraser at the drafting board and a wrecking bar at the site.”Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Search engines reward the legitimate“wisdom of crowds” Helping each other find information with online bookmarking and community sites Technorati, Reddit,TechCrunchDeliciousSearch engines look to agnostic resources for relevance ranking. Wikipedia results always appear at the top of a search results set. Some “X-file conspiracy theorist” (apparently I am one until I find a vindicating resource) believe that this is done by intention on the part of Google. Certainly, the current Google algorithm for determining relevance favors sites like Wikipedia with a contrived sense of agnosticism.
  • Here is more evidence of the maturing Semantic WebSearch engines are now incorporating information on user behavior, document properties, domain properties and searcher behavior in the calculation of relevance.Watch out for those Facebook applications, quizzes,etc, Tweets, Linked-in dataImproving Search using Population Information (November 2008): Determine population information associated with the query that is derived from a population databaseLocations of usersPopulations that users are associated withGroups users are associated with (gender, shared interests, self- & auto-assigned identity data)Rendering Context Sensitive Ads for Multi-topic searchers (April 2008): Resolves ambiguities by monitoring user behavior to determine specific interest Presentation of Local Results (July 2008): Generating 2 sets of results, one with relevance based on location of device used for searchDetecting Novel Content (November 2008): indentify and assign novelty score to one or more textual sequences for an individual document in a setDocument Scoring based on Document Content Update (May 2007): scoring based on how document updated over time, rate of change, rate of change for anchor-link text pointing to documentDocument Scoring based on Link-based Criteria (April 2007): System to determine time-varying behavior of links pointing to a document ; growth in # of links pointing to the document (exceeds the acceptable threshold), freshness of links, age distribution of links deployed as Google ScoutMicrosoft: Launches “decision engine” with focus on multiple meaning (contexts) as well as term indexing and topic association and tracking-Lead researcher Susan Dumais at the forefront of user behavior for prediction on search relevance-Look to recent acquisition of Powerset (semantic indexing) and FAST ESP (semantic processing)Calculating Valence of Expressions within Docum0ents for Searching a Document Index (March 2009): System for natural language search and sentiment analysis through a breakdown of the valence manipulation in documentEfficiently Representing Word Sense Probabilities (April 2009): Word sense probabilities stored in a semantic index and mapped to “buckets.” Tracking Storylines Around a Query (May 2008): Employ probabilistic or spectral techniques to discover themes within documents delivered over a stream of timeConsolidate the plurality of info around certain subjects (track stories that continue over time)Collect results over time and sort (keeps track of the current themes and alerts to new)TrackRank (relevance)Present abstractsCompares the query with the contents of each document to discover whether query exists implicitly or explicitly in received documentBuilds topic modelsDocument Segmentation based on Visual Gaps (July 2006): Document white space/gaps used to identify hierarchical structure
  • Some observers claim that Google is now running on as many as a million Linux servers. At the very least, it is running on hundreds of thousands. When you consider that the application Google delivers is instant access to documents and services available from, by last count, more than 81 million independent web servers, we're starting to understand how true it is, as Sun Microsystems co-founder John Gage famously said back in 1984, that "the network is the computer." It took over 20 years for the rest of the industry to realize that vision, but we're finally there. ...First, privacy. Collective intelligence requires the storage of enormous amounts of data. And while this data can be used to deliver innovative applications, it can also be used to invade our privacy. The recent news disclosures about phone records being turned over to the NSA is one example. Yahoo's recent disclosure of the identity of a Chinese dissident to Chinese authorities is another. The internet has enormous power to increase our freedom. It also has enormous power to limit our freedom, to track our every move and monitor our every conversation. We must make sure that we don't trade off freedom for convenience or security. Dave Farber, one of the fathers of the Internet, is fond of repeating the words of Ben Franklin: "Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither, and will lose both." Second, concentration of power. While it's easy to see the user empowerment and democratization implicit in web 2.0, it's also easy to overlook the enormous power that is being accrued by those who've successfully become the repository for our collective intelligence. Who owns that data? Is it ours, or does it belong to the vendor? If history is any guide, the democratization promised by Web 2.0 will eventually be succeeded by new monopolies, just as the democratization promised by the personal computer led to an industry dominated by only a few companies. Those companies will have enormous power over our lives -- and may use it for good or ill. Already we're seeing companies claiming that Google has the ability to make or break their business by how it adjusts its search rankings. That's just a small taste of what is to come as new power brokers rule the information pathways that will shape our future world. http://radar.oreilly.com/2006/05/my-commencement-speech-at-sims.htmlMy Commencement Speech at SIMS (May 2006)
  • Equal Representation By Search Engines: Vaughn & Zhang (2007)

Uw Digital Communications Social Media Is Not Search Uw Digital Communications Social Media Is Not Search Presentation Transcript

  • Why Social Media is NOT a Replacement for Search Optimization
    University of Washington Digital Communications
    February 1, 2010
  • Ubiquitous Agenda Slide
    Search Engines & the Evolution of the Web
    Search Distraction
    Search Ennui
    Social Media
    Growth
    Usage
    Twitter
    Facebook
    Intersection of Search & Social Media
    New Forms of Relevance
    Dark Side of Search
    Consolidation of power
    Search Engine Bias
    Resources
  • Evolution of the Web
    Google claims to have found 1 trillion URLs
    There are approximately 320 million new pages added to the Web every week
    Shelf life of a page is roughly 1 year
    80% of links are replaced within 1 year
    There’s a lot of Web junk out there
    • 15% of pages change weekly
    • Mostly small changes
    Googlearchy : dominant Web sites become more firmly entrenched in search results by nature of size
    Older sites rewarded for longevity
    Link rich get richer
  • Search Disorientation
    There is now too much to choose from in search results
    Berrypicking on Steroids
    Searchers do not know “how to search”
    56% constructed poor queries
    Did not suite their information need
    Were too generic
    95% did not use any operators to refine query
    92% used information from a single resource
    28% had difficulty maintaining orientation on a website
    Searchers hop-scotching from result to result
    33% had difficulty navigating/orienting search results
  • Search Ennui
    Over confidence in search effectiveness for all searches
    36% did not go beyond the first 3 search results
    not pages…results on page 1
    91% did not go beyond the first page of search results
    55% selected irrelevant results 1 or more times
    Too lazy to switch?
    • My own Facebook poll
  • Social Media
    Connection with friends, family, colleagues
    Twitter
    Blogs
    Facebook/MySpace
    Instant Messaging
    Skype
    Largest participation, largest growth sector is uploading photos
    • Video sharing next
    Most social media participants are passive consumers
    • More activity = steep drop in participation
    http://www.marketing-online.co.uk/wiki/File:Social_Media_Statistics.png
  • Key Online Demand Generation Activities
    Customer Engagement media activates
    Search for brand online = 67.2%
    Social Media Activities
    Read Blogs: 26.90%
    Play Company Online Games: 25.30%
    Post reviews: 35.20%
  • Twitter
    The numbers of new people joining Twitter has declined
    The level of Twitter engagement is low – a majority of the users follow very few and have low tweet volume
  • Facebook
    350 million active users
    65 million mobile users (50% more active than non-mobile users)
    70% of users are outside of the U.S.
    35 million users update status daily
    Average user is a member of 12 groups
    Average user has 130 friends
    500,000 active applications
    250 applications with more than 1 million active users
    http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics
  • Intersection of Search & Social Media
    Reveal valuable information about conversations around brand or key phrases related to products & services
    Terms for optimization
    Locations where conversation is taking place
    Trends over time
    Shared search information
    Heystakshttp://www.heystaks.com/
  • How Search Engines Determine Influential Bloggers
    If a blog post has a large number of inlinks, then it is more likely to be influential.
    influence of a blog post depends on the influence of the blog posts referencing it: The more influential the blog posts that refer to this blog post, the more influential this blog post becomes.
    The influence of a blog post could depend on the amount of discussion it initiated.
    Little or no discussion = did not arouse others' interests or their contents were not appealing.
    Large number of comments indicates that the particular blog post affects many people so they care to write comments.
    If a blog post refers to many articles or other blog posts, it is less likely to be an innovative piece
    Keller and Berry have listed innovativeness as an essential property of being influential in a physical community.
    The number of outlinks reflects how innovative a blog post is.
    An influential blog post is often well written., i.e. eloquent, descriptive, logical, insightful, authoritative, rhetoric, relatively self-contained.
    The length of a blog post (¸) is a heuristic measure checking if post is influential or not.
  • More About Search
  • New Formulas for Relevance
    Behavioral: Microsoft: Compares snippets of Web search engine results with data collected from user behavior and client, Google: user bookmarks [online and client] used to construct “personalized search object” that is used to filter Web search results
    • Query
    • Click through
    • Currency
    • Time on page
    Social: The wisdom of crowds
    • Annotation
    • Bookmarks
    • Sharing
    • Subscription
    Universal: text, image, audio, video
  • Search v.Next
    Microsoft:Launches “decision engine” with focus on multiple meaning (contexts) as well as term indexing and topic association and tracking
    • Calculating Valence of Expressions within Documents for Searching a Document Index (March 2009)
    • Efficiently Representing Word Sense Probabilities (April 2009)
    • Tracking Storylines Around a Query (May 2008)
    • Document Segmentation based on Visual Gaps (July 2006)
    Google: Focus on user-centric data associated with relevance ranking and storage enhancements for multiple data types
    • Improving Search using Population Information (November 2008)
    • Rendering Context Sensitive Ads for Multi-topic searchers (April 2008)
    • Presentation of Local Results (July 2008)
    • Detecting Novel Content (November 2008)
    • Document Scoring based on Document Content Update (May 2007)
    • Document Scoring based on Link-based Criteria (April 2007)
    Yahoo: focus on display indicators of relevance, either user, publisher or system employed
    • Systems and Methods for Contextual Transaction Proposals (July 2006)
    • Delivering Items Based on Links to Resources Associated with Results (April 2008)
    • Web Activity Monitoring System with Tracking by Categories and Terms (December 2006)
  • The Dark Side
    Scale issues
    • Low index ratio: Just because the spider hits your page, doesn’t mean you are in the index
    Quality issues
    Duplicate content: an issue for dynamically rendered sites
    Form over substance
    Search Engine agenda
    Monetizing search – how they store and use data collected from search logs
    Consolidation of Power
    International Politics of Search
  • Consolidation of Power
    While it's easy to see the user empowerment and democratization implicit in web 2.0, it's also easy to overlook the enormous power that is being accrued by those who've successfully become the repository for our collective intelligence. Who owns that data? Is it ours, or does it belong to the vendor?
    Tim O’Reilly, 2006
    • 2 billion searches a day worldwide
    • Cookie with 5 year expiration
    • data storage and manipulation on a monumental scale
  • International Politics of Search
    Not all pages found are indexed
    Google indexes more sites
    Academic and EDU sites from the U.S. and get the most coverage
    U.S. sites have a statistically better chance of more complete indexing
    China has the lowest average coverage rate
    US: 93.6% indexed, China: 79.8% indexed
    In-links DO matter across the board, regardless of site type
    Smaller coverage more pronounced in .com and .gov sites
  • Google US: “ Tiananmen Square”
    Showcasing Google’s preference for Wikipedia
    Majority of results are on massacre
  • Google China
    Generic tourism results
    Tourism photos
    Filtered from outside as well as inside China
    Google US
  • Google France
    Showcase Google’s preference for Wikipedia
    BBC result
    News photos document protest
    General Tourism sites
    Google US
  • UW Digital Communications
    2/10/2010
    21
    Resources
    Social Media Usage Statistics http://www.marketing-online.co.uk/wiki/Social_Media_Usage_Statistics
    Razorfish Digital Feed 2009 http://feed.razorfish.com/feed09/the-data/
    Hubspot Twitter Usage Report http://www.hubspot.com/Portals/53/docs/01.10.sot.report.pdf
    Ignite Social Network Analysis Report http://hbr.org/2010/01/the-hbr-list-breakthrough-ideas-for-2010/ar/1
    Identifying Influentials in the Blogsosphere: Agarwal, Liu, Tang
    Search & Social Media: http://palblog.fxpal.com/?p=2814
  • UW Digital Communications
    2/10/2010
    22
    Thank You
    Marianne Sweeny
    Search Services
    M 206.898.3786
    D 425.519.7700
    Emarianne.sweeny@ascentium.com
    E: sweeny48@u.washington.edu