• http://www.dandycustard.com Daniel Deceuster

    This post just made me stand up in the middle of my office and clap. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Think of this- who are the most followed people on Twitter? Most liked on Facebook? Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber and other useless people with nothing worthwhile to say or contribute to society. Yet these are the most popular people out there.

    Sorry, I don’t agree, and I don’t want Google to follow the collective wisdom of the masses precisely for that reason. The masses are stupid. The masses can name the three stooges but not the three branches of government. The masses know who Justin Bieber is but not Joe Biden. I would feel a lot better if social stayed out of search myself.

  • http://www.seoinc.com John E Lincoln

    Great post. I think you have honed in on a key flaw in the topic of social sharing and search, the introduction of unconsidered noise. This may very well result in us muddling up the search experience. Although Google, without sharing signals, was less social it was controlled and filtered information. With the addition of social data we are exposed to search result chaos, as it contains suggestions from people who may be friends, but have a different perspective on information and research. Nice points here.


  • http://www.VerticalMeasures.com Arnie K

    Eric, have to admit I usually find something to take issue with in your articles, but this one I agree with every word. I have been very involved in the ratings & review space for 13 years. Even have a patent for a recommendation technology.

    We built it because we knew what my very best friend reads, listens to and watches is totally different than what I do. And then there is the whole “gaming” of the system aspect. And I never really thought about “age” as a factor. I certainly hope all those Phd’s at Google are on top of this.

    Great article.


  • http://www.ericward.com Eric Ward

    Hi Arnie, hey thank you! I usually take issue with my own articles too:). On the one hand, I want to tell it like I think it is, on the other hand, I often don’t believe every word I write. And, of course, I have to keep folks confused just enough to hire me:). If I told every truth I know, half would be wrong, and nobody would need me.

  • http://www.VerticalMeasures.com Arnie K

    Eric – thanks for clarifying. Clear as mud now. Well at least half of it is. :-)

  • http://www.banta.tv Tracy Falke

    Oh my God, Eric. Bloody Brilliant.

    Right, I’m off to work contact my industry peeps to see if I can get on the speaking rota for the next #SMX because I have got to spend more time with this crew.

    I LOVE IT! I also have lots and lots of ideas of how to amend the algorithm.

  • http://www.google.com/ Azi Azimi

    Eric, what a brilliant article couldn’t have put it any better. This whole social thing has been driving Google and other search engines nuts. Eli Pariser did a great talk at TED about few months ago on topic of “filter bubbles” and it is so true.

    We should be able to control this whole social madness. I closed down my last google account because my results kept showing some website just because I exchanged 1-2 emails with the owner. And there was no way for me to delete that listing from my search results it kept showing up for everything I wrote.

    Thanks for sharing this one with us.

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com George Michie

    Brilliant stuff, Eric. I’ve often thought Facebook needs to devise attributes of friendship. I have professional friends, school friends, local friends, etc. I have friends whose taste in music/politics/books I care about and others I don’t. I’d like …heh heh…to be able to share stuff with different subsets of my friends, and choose to here only relevant updates from friends. Cutting out the noise would make the signals more valuable and the engagement more meaningful.

  • http://www.buzzstream.com/blog Paul May

    Good points, Eric. I’m actually less concerned about the fact that your social graph consists of people that you don’t have much in common with than I am about the gaming/spam challenges you pointed out. There are social network analysis techniques that are designed to tease out many different graphs within a community. So, using twitter as an example, I have people in my set of followers/following that I’m connected to because they’re SEOs, others who I’m connected to because they’re in Austin, etc….and if you look even deeper, you’ll see very different social dynamics for different types of interactions and connections (e.g., Q&A graphs look very different than conversation graphs). So, using social data for determining rank is going to be a very tough problem, but over time the algorithms will get better about teasing out graphs by topic, interaction type, connection type, etc..

    All that said, I think the gaming issues are very problematic…just way too easy to do.

  • http://www.michael-martinez.com/ Michael Martinez

    I started to +1, LIKE, TWEET, and SHARE this article Eric but there are just too many buttons. I got tired after the +1 experience because every other service wants to have a conversation with me.

  • http://www.ericward.com Eric Ward

    @Michael I remember back when the buttons were called chiklets, and I called pages with too many of them chiklitter. I see history repeating itself. There are again too many buttons that do too many things. Did I just Like that, or fan it? Was that a tweet or a follow, or both I just did? Share this, add that, tweet this, like this, plus this, recommend that, bookmark this, buzz that. I’m online all day and still get confused, so I think the typical casual surfer is going to end up dazed and ignore most of them. Sometimes I just want to read a friggin article and not tell the entire planet I did so.

  • http://www.unsuccessfulartist.com/ seanruiz

    Thank you.. finally… for someone saying all of this.

  • Sarah Badani

    Hey Eric,
    great article. Eli Pariser has a great video explaining the subtle evils of this whole social influence on search engines (check it out: http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.html) I don’t understand, though, why you seem to be saying that Google +1 is changing this influence more than Twitter, FB, etc. Am I missing or misunderstanding something?