Blog Archive: 2010

Social Media Overload

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In the aftermath of the recent SXSW event, Alexandra Samuel wrote on the HBR blog about five unsolved problems facing Social Media. She enumerated contact list overload, search overload, information overload, brand overload, and apathy overload. It’s not clear to me, however, whether these are pressing issues, and whether universal solutions to them would constitute an improvement over the current chaos.

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Help isn’t all we need

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Jeremy scooped me in his recent post where he commented on a recent SXSW panel on social search that included Marc Vermut, Brynn Evans, Max Ventilla, Ash Rust, and Scott Prindle. Jeremy pointed out that in addition to asking for help and embarking on a solitary search, was the possibility (discussed many times on this blog) of embarking on (an exploratory) search together. Searching together, collaboratively, is often appropriate when faced with exploratory (rather than known-item, factiod, or trending topic) information needs. Collaboration works best when information needs are shared, and when the results need to be created rather than merely re-discovered.

In an exchange on Twitter, Brynn pointed out that instances of true collaborative search comprised less than 10% of the instances she and colleagues had recorded in their study of Mechanical Turk respondents. But that argument misses the point.

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