Social Search – What will float to the top?

Social search is on big companies’ minds:
Google’s New Social Search Is A Big Chess Move Against Facebook (ReadWriteWeb, 10/21)

So, Bing has Facebook and Twitter, and Google only has Twitter.

Where is LinkedIn in this conversation?  LinkedIn’s news sharing is worth looking at.  With a few changes it’s potential would be actually greater than either Twitter or Facebook updates.

Why is Twitter so useful?   Because I can choose whom to follow, and others can choose whether to follow me.  But Twitter has big limitations.   Even by creating a selected group of the people I’m following I still have to wade through a lot of non-relevant stuff, and I *mostly* miss a lot of stuff that disappears below the horizon surprisingly quickly – because I look at Twitter at most 2 or 3 times a day, and often go days without looking.   Also, 140 characters is very neat.   But not always appropriate.  It doesn’t really tell me enough in order to decide accurately whether to click through on the links.   And they don’t contain enough info to store and search.

I like LinkedIn News because I can quickly grab content from the Web and share it.  If I want to share it with a particular group or group of connections, this is great.  But something really crucial is missing.

I don’t always want to *push* news and ideas I find interesting to a particular group or set of connections.  And I definitely don’t want to spam all my connections.   I *do* want to be able to collect news and ideas and keep the items in a single place.  And I *do* want to be able to follow/subscribe to collected news and ideas from a selected group of connections and non-connnections.  And I want to also be able to go to a single person’s profile and see what news and ideas that person has collected, or to search my connections for news and ideas that match specific tags.

Those changes would make LinkedIn News much more powerful than either Facebook or Twitter updates – precisely because LinkedIn is much more focused on professional value rather than also flooded with personal messages, photos, etc.  Plus, LinkedIn profiles tell me much more than Twitter bios, and after all, I already have a lot of important connections on LinkedIn.  So LinkedIn’s search capabilities could allow me to find people who share my interests *and* who have impressive profiles and recommendations *and* who are sharing news and ideas from the Web.  This would be doing what LinkedIn does best.

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