If you thought social media was making your life an open book, you had better fasten your seat belt because Facebook’s new features are guaranteed to take all of this ahead a full quantum leap.
What I am talking about is the new Facebook LIKE button that you may be already seeing. It seems very benign at first glance, yet I can assure you it is intended to help Facebook wrestle control of the Web from Google. And the early word suggests that Facebook may have actually registered a direct hit that has sent a ripple of fear through some parts of Silicon Valley, namely Mountainview, California.
The Universal Like Button
The Facebook LIKE button lets users share pages from your site back to their Facebook profile with just one click. This button is referred to by Facebook as a Social Plug-In. You’ll find one right here on the home-page of this blog – beneath the words in the upper right hand corner “Become a Fan.”
The purpose of LIKE is to build more engagement from any page on the Web that utilizes this feature, by then driving them together into a community that is …where else? On Facebook! Naturally, this is the part that works for you if you are looking to increase your Web visibility and increase your leads. And it is precisely what gives Google some pause for thought, and some Web developers too.
The Significance of Web Objects
Here is how this works. When you LIKE a page on the Web, you send it to your Facebook profile. This allows you to share this with your Facebook community – presumably, your best friends – those you know and trust. As a result, it is expected this information will penetrate even further into your friend’s communities, and also leave a trail that points back to you.
That push of the LIKE button creates what is known as a Web object. It has it’s own unique ID to ensure it is searchable. When that objects travels through your network of friends, it essentially attaches that code to the profiles of everyone it becomes associated with. And that tells a story about who you are and the company you keep. This story is referred to as your social graph.
In a perfect world of social search, we would all have a social graph that would essentially tell our life story. That graph is built from our association with other people and events, both on and offline. However, it is those Web objects that digitize the story online.
A Web object is more than a Facebook LIKE, it is an image on Flickr, a video on YouTube, a Web page, a blog post, comments on blog posts, and on and on. The point is this. Anything that can be indexed can be searched for. The big story, and what the discussion is all about, is where that search will take place.
A Social Search Engine
Facebook’s goal is to create a search engine that is …. “smarter, more social, more personalized, and more semantically aware.” This is what has been previously referred to as the wisdom of friends. What you share with your friends is more likely to be the truth than what is advertised or marketed. In that respect, one could certainly make a case for Facebook having the potential to be better than Google for search.
Do all roads now lead to Facebook? It remains to be seen. Nevertheless, for you and me, this points to ensuring you have a presence on Facebook that represents who you really are. And this is where it gets tricky. The better search gets in all of its forms – regular, social, geo-location, and real-time, the better it will create an undeniably accurate representation of all of us.
Does This Change Anything?
Not if you are smart. This was inevitable. And we can expect to see more of it. So, I certainly would not go about putting all of my eggs in the Facebook basket. In fact, I would avoid putting them in any one basket.
Your success with social media marketing will still come down to how well you can help people in a community – same as always. Google has more than enough money to make a challenge, although Facebook has nearly 500,000 friends on their side. And let’s not forget that Twitter wants to play in this sandbox too.
Your goal as an entrepreneur or small business owner is just to understand these developments so that you can use the social networks to achieve your business goals and objectives.