In Defense Of Facebook's Graph Search
Many people have been harping on Facebook Graph Search since the announcement yesterday -- including some on these very virtual pages. But it seems to me that people aren’t stepping back to look at the big picture.
Graph Search is, in a way, making the human network within Facebook tangible to users. Contrary to what MediaPost’s Joe Mandese wrote yesterday, regarding how this function is “adding more noise and distraction,” my feeling is that it will actually do the opposite. Graph Search empowers users to cut through the noise to find content that is actually interesting and useful to them. Graph Search is a way for people to capitalize upon the volumes of personal data readily available to them to make their life easier by strengthening the digital connection between friends.
For example: You’re planning for a trip to Costa Rica and you’re looking for recommendations on where to go. Why post a status asking for recommendations to only get one or two comments from people who happen to see your post when you could just search “Friends who have pictures taken in Costa Rica” and browse through albums full of photos for ideas?
In a similar sense, Graph Search enables people to grow their personal and professional network. Many Facebook users would agree with the fact that the majority of their “friends” on Facebook are people they haven’t talked to in years, or perhaps very little in the past at all. Graph Search branches that distance between friends, and pulls out common threads of interests, places, etc. Relocating to a new city and don’t know anyone there? Well, maybe you do. With Graph Search you could find long-lost friends or schoolmates who might be living or have lived in your new city.
As for “the dark web” aspect of social searching, I’ll say again that this is Facebook shining a light through an otherwise black hole. What may currently be a mess of “inane” posts will be transformed into a treasure chest of information and content sharing. You won’t have to wade through your timeline to find specific information -- you’ll be able to search for it and look through content that is relevant to your needs.
Lastly, I should add the fact that Facebook is smart. Very smart. They may not always do things people agree with right away (remember the commotion when Timeline rolled out to the public?), but every move they make is a step toward a better user experience. I believe Graph Search is just the beginning of search advancements we will begin to see across social media as a whole. It’s unknown now, but in a few years Graph Search will likely become another one of those “how did I live without this” tools.