Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - SxSWi: Search and Social Network Converse

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@Geoff - I do see more balance between search and network. We shall see what's next, as Charlene said.

@Carolyn Ann - it would be funny to get a check from a network I don't even use, wouldn't it? Indeed marketing will need to ride on the coattails of this new iteration/combination.

@Connie - good seeing you as well and congratulations again for Every Dot Connects being now part of New Media Labs.

Valeria, thank you so much for this post. I did not get to attend Charlene's panel, so your discussion here is important for my understanding the future of search/social. (Always great seeing you, btw.)

Don't be so coy! You came up with a brilliant idea! I don't care if others came up with it - you articulated it.

I disagree: I don't think users will want it, or request it. I think someone will offer it to them, and they'll say "oh, riiight! That's what we want!" It will, of course, be mistaken for what people want. A bit like Twitter (no, I'm not being facetious. Where was the demand for a Twitter-like service, before Twitter?)

Geoff (no "@", sorry. I don't do "@"... :-) And, if I may be so familiar?)
Search doesn't drive the process. Search facilitates the process of discovery. It might make the content valuable to marketers, but thankfully we're more than our marketing profiles!

Actually, I'll rephrase that. Search simply enables the creation of ever more literal marketing profiles. I had to think about that, to be honest: "accurate" was too abstract; I settled on literal, but I'm not sure it's an accurate [sic] summary. "Refined", ever more refined marketing profiles, perhaps? To whit: we become our profiles?

Search, even semantic search, doesn't amount to much without the content to search. Ergo, search cannot drive, but simply must aid the discoverer. (We're not at the point of cognizant machinery. I hate to point that out, but pedants do exist, as you're probably all too aware!)

Semantic search, along the lines of Valeria's synopsis, enables more than marketing: it facilitates a very profound change in the role of Internet discovery. It has dangers - the proverbial ghetto will become a reality in extremely partisan ways, for instance.

(Just as an aside, I truly hate the word "facilitate". I once had a boss who used it endlessly; I think it suffice to note that he and I did not agree very often. Forgive my linguistic acrobatics as I try to avoid using that word! Another word I despise is "paradigm". And "disrespect" - that's a made up word, and has no place in the English language. I'll abseil from my linguistic soap box, now.)

I sincerely hope your statement is false, Geoff. Because if the sole value of semantic search, and Valeria's very clever idea, is marketing: the idea itself won't work. People will actively thwart it, unless the value is elsewhere - in the finding of people with like interests, views and values. Marketing will have to ride on the coattails of that!

Has Facebook finally found a way to make money? I sincerely hope they send Valeria a nice, big, fat check. Because what she articulated is what Facebook should be about - not the childrens playtime of that concept they currently engage in.

Carolyn Ann

PS Twitter can 'fend for itself on the whims of angels.

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