Searching Social with Mary Ellen Bates

Mary Ellen Bates  has tips for Seriously Searching Social in this latest slideshow presented at Websearch University, September 29. First – be reminded that online social networks are to be used strategically . She shows settings to use at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+. Next she covers the Dos and Don’ts of searching social and reviews several strategies.

Pinterest navigation

Pinterest users in the United States can be guided by Pinterest to special interests within a category – such as Outdoors page might suggest Hiking.  I don’t see this in Toronto – not rolled out yet.

Pinterest Makes It Easier to Find What Just What You’re Looking For, by Kurt Wagner, Make Use Of (Mashable)

Pinterest already offered a categories tabs where users could search for pins by more general groupings, but now, those categories include more specific interests that users can subscribe to. For example, you can follow interests like hiking, camping or running under the broader “outdoors” category. Following an interest means those pins will now appear in your feed, saving you the hassle of searching for them.

Facebook Users Outraged

Facebook has been manipulating news in feeds to selected users in the interest of research, the essence of which was to study whether people are emotionally affected by what they read. The study was done by a Facebook employee and two researchers at Cornell University. People are outraged but they will forget the privacy infringement, as they always do, and there will be another round in a few months.

Even the Editor of Facebook’s Mood Study Thought It Was Creepy, Adrienne Lafrance, Atlantic (Jun 28)

“The study found that by manipulating the News Feeds displayed to 689,003 Facebook users users, it could affect the content which those users posted to Facebook. More negative News Feeds led to more negative status messages, as more positive News Feeds led to positive statuses.”

Not really a stunning finding, and surely not worth the trouble.

Information privacy commissioners in Canada and the United Kingdom will examine whether the study violated  privacy laws.

Canada’s privacy watchdog to press Facebook on ‘emotional’ study, David Bradshaw, Globe and Mail (Jul 2)

Google+ low referral rate

It appears that people aren’t using Google+ to link to web pages in their postings.  This analysis of referral traffic puts Google+ at .08% in March 2014, with only Linked In being even smaller at .04%.  Facebook was 21.56%.

Google+ At 3 Years Old: Not A Ghost Town, But A Social Referral Graveyard, by Martin Beck, Marketing Land (Jun 27)

Publishers will include the G+ button for sharing, but it’s not being used much. Google’s announcement that it doesn’t use social signals in Google+ to boost rankings suggests limited interest.

Slideshare categories

Slideshare is an excellent method of quickly getting an overview or an update through viewing presentations. Finding and following presentations of most interest just got easier by the addition of categories. There are abut 40 of these from arts and photos, to career, to travel.

Follow Our Categories to Get the SlideShares You Want, John Loot, Slideshare blog (June 4)

Explore these from your homepage in Slideshare (requires registration) using the Explore button. Then Follow or use more Filters.

Exploring categories in Slideshare

Exploring categories in Slideshare

What is LinkedIn For?

LinkedIn has been with us for 11 years as a professional social network. There are 300 million members, of whom about two-thirds log in once a month. Why? What value do members get?

Why LinkedIn is morphing from a social network into an online newspaper, Leo Mirani, Quartz (May 1)

Common view is that it is good for finding a job – or being found. But endorsements and recommendations may be “meaningless”.

By adding news streams LinkedIn gives its users more reasons to log in. Groups – and the opportunity to discuss with others – increases activity.

LinkedIn is counting on people to use the network as a platform to express their own thoughts, hoping they will spread the word themselves. Like any writer, those publishing on LinkedIn will want their work to be read, essentially giving LinkedIn free promotion and giving its millions of members an incentive to bring others to the platform. If the approach works, it will boost pageviews and users and, eventually, ad revenue.

Of Interest: “Non-US users now make up two-thirds of LinkedIn’s membership, versus only one-third five years ago. “

Rumours about Google+

How many times can Google build a social network and then pull back? Danny Sullivan examines the possibility of Google dropping Google+ as a product, and perhaps chopping it up. All very speculative at the moment.

What Would Happen If Google Really Did Kill Google+?, Danny Sullivan, Marketing Land (Apr 24)

Wouldn’t this side-swipe ranking results and personalization? I get the impression from this posting that Google wasn’t using Google+ for influencing ranking of results unless you were signed into your account.

That doesn’t solve the issue, however, that social can be a useful signal to harvest in improving search results. Indeed, for anyone signed-in to Google and with a Google+ account, results can be dramatically different based on your social connections. Social is used for personalization.

Killing Google+ could make doing this harder, though not impossible. It might give the search team more faith about using such signals directly. And maybe, just maybe, it could mean that Google might be more open to making use of third party social signals again.