Social Search, or Search Socially?

An interesting paper in Computer-Human-Interaction conference CSC08 described social search in terms of the entire searching process, from consulting with friends on what keywords to use, to sharing the search outcome. The research was based on interviews on Mechanical Turk asking for respondents’ recent search experiences, and concluded with some practical suggestions. After watching the presentation slides, I also exchanged some thoughts with one of the authors, Brynn Evans.

6 responses to “Social Search, or Search Socially?

  1. I like the title of your post, here!

    I still haven’t found consensus in our collective notion of what “social search” is, although I tend to see it as exploiting a social network as an information resource (very similar to how Delver is intended to work!). Is social searching different from social search? They’re certainly related. If social searching means finding a person to help you with a search task, then that helps the overall cause. But that model may be quite different from a search for information through an established social network.

  2. I recently wrote a blog post entitled “The Social Aspect Of Resource Discovery” which addressed this issue. The post contains an embedded Slideshare presentation – see

    Brian Kelly, UKOLN

  3. Thanks Brynn 🙂 I don’t think it’s really possible to find that consensus, as the term describes different aspects of the same concept, so you really should be looking for a taxonomy rather than a consensus. But then, again, I was referring here to the search act itself, or even just a major component in it (ranking), so surely it’s even more complex with the entire process.

    Hi Brian – I watched your presentation with great interest and commented there. Thanks!

  4. Ofer: Am wondering what you guys are thinking about in terms of social search after a year from this article… Ever in the Palo Alto area?

    • Hi Ed – interesting retrospective question. As you may know, following our acquisition, we’ve moved on from generic search to search in the context of commerce. If I revisit the concepts you two raised in that paper, I think our current work indeed moves a lot closer to the entire social process of search and discovery, rather than just the social-graph-IR by itself. I’ve just shared a sneak peak with Brynn a week ago if you’re interested…

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