A little “Friendly” Advice for Facebook

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There was a fascinating quote in The New York Times today in an article on Facebook’s privacy decisions. (Facebook’s privacy actions will either create mad blowback or turn it into the world’s first trillion dollar company.)

“If I’m looking for day care for my 6-year-old, I’m going to put that in my status (Facebook) message, not do a Google Search.”  (Sean Sullivan, F-Secure.)

Search, Curation, Advice.

In the world, and on the internet, there are important common behaviors: search, curation and advice.  Search is a great way to find things and it’s clearly a huge business; results are organized and prioritized… by the algorithm.  Curation, on the other hand, growing in importance online, is search but with a human hand.  Social networks help curate in a sense because one “friends,” organized by degrees of separation, share content they care about.  But advice?  Many a web property was built around advice.  Most have failed or languished.  

Mr. Sullivan’s quote points to the need for trusted advisors, not algorithm results of independent ranking experts (e.g., Better Business Bureau, Consumer Reports, your newspaper).  Mr. Sullivan’s important day care decision will be assisted by the advice of friends and respected Web friends.

As Facebook creates tools that blur the lines between search, curation and friendly advice, it will likely lose its way. People are their own best filters and Facebook needs to make sure it doesn’t cross the line. Peace!