What’s New in Search and Social Media? — January 2012

Social media and search engine news
Credit: BigStockPhoto.com

It’s another new month (a new year actually!), so it’s time to share some recent search and social media stories with you. This month we have our usual players in Google and Facebook. And we have a few updates from other social media sites as well — from SOPA protests to design changes.

Here are some of the stories that got our attention over the last few weeks.

1. Google+ Pages See Changes

One of the biggest problems with the launch of Google+ Pages was the fact that only the page owner was allowed to serve as an administrator. In other words, if you hired a marketing firm to set up your page, only one of you could update it. Or if you let an employee set up your page and they left the company, you could be left with no access to your own page.

Google listened to feedback on the issue, and they’re finally fixing things. You can now assign administrator privileges to up to 50 people. Is it perfect? Not really. Ideally I’d like to see at least two levels of administrators — those who can fully administer the account (settings, basic profile info, etc.) and those who can only share updates. How about you?


2. More Social Media Facelifts

In our last update we told you about the next “New Twitter” with that site’s design changes. Now more social media companies are joining in and updating their look. This month it’s everybody’s favorite social video darling YouTube and a new look for StumbleUpon.





3. Reddit to Stage a SOPA Blackout

Reddit has announced plans to blackout their service on January 18th from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to protest SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act). Instead of your usual content, you’ll find a message about SOPA on the site during that time. How do you feel about these kinds of blackouts? Will it annoy you as a user, or do you appreciate their stance and attempt to educate more visitors? Who would you like to see join the blackout? Do you think it will be effective in any way?


4. Facebook Introduces Paid Ads to News Feeds

Facebook is rolling out featured ads when you view news feeds through the service. In an attempt to keep the ads relevant to you as a user, you should only see ads from friends or pages you’ve “liked.”


5. Google Takes New Steps Towards Social Search

Google unveiled its new Search plus Your World effort to make search more social. You can choose to search as usual or see more personalized results including things people have shared with you on G+.

I’m already noticing a big problem with the personal results. If you happen to follow just friends and family, that’s fine. But if you follow bloggers and or businesses who aggressively market (read “whore out”) their sites by recommending their own posts and sites constantly, they’re featured prominently in results. Score one for the more sleazy marketers.

Just because I follow someone on a social network and they happen to constantly “share” their own stuff, it doesn’t mean their results are more relevant when I search for something. This seems like a natural flaw with social search though, and a limitation that means I’ll personally be sticking with usual Web searches for now.


Share your thoughts on these or any other recent search industry or social media news stories in the comments below.

Written by
Jennifer Mattern
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