This is a 2 part article. This first part will go over Google, Twitter and Facebook searches, or at least our take on it. Part 2 will go over searching in Wikipedia, Foursquare, Flickr and YouTube.
Google.com…period. Well, not so much. This article deals with real life search on the web. You can go and read all the stats and trends about Search Engines but we write based on our experiences. Forget stats, we use what’s best for us and we share our results with you, we hope it helps.
At this point in 2010 most of us no longer use the phrase “search it on the web” but rather we say (and understand) “Google it”. But what is yet to catch up in everyday conversation is some of the other “searches” that are done on the web that can be just as successful as Google.
While Google is the “all world-favorite ice cream-best shoes-cherry on top” search engine in the whole universe there are several other “searches” on the web that we feel are just as good if not better. As far as google goes, its wonderful for generic searches but not the best if you want real time updates. Yes they do have the tabs that let you check under “News” that do bring you a much more current result but as far as we go we are not looking for what CNN is saying about an issue, we would just go to CNN.com for that. But when you would rather hear what “real life” says, the everyday person, you, us, society where do you go? How about Twitter or Facebook. Or what if you want to see how to make a retaining wall for your outdoor landscape, the real way and not the puffed out way Home Depot may tell you? Well, dont you fear, real people with real solutions are on the web, just a click away.
Among Google, we also use the searches on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Wikipedia, Foursquare and YouTube. Yes there are many others out there but again we tell you what we use and hope it helps. Here is a breakdown for Twitter and Facebook.
Twitter? Yes, Twitter. The search part of twitter is brilliant and not nearly used as much as it should be. Its real time, real people, real stuff. Its multi-faceted use is great. Its Google on steroids. Here are some examples of how we use the search feature daily on Twitter.
Whenever traveling, especially on the Garden State Parkway in NJ, we do a search on twitter. It tells us up to the second anyone sending out “tweets” about anything going down on the GSP. So we would do a search for “GSP” or “Garden State Parkway” etc and anyone sitting in traffic that uses Twitter will be sure to at one point send out a tweet. Its not a perfect science, you dont always get a ton of results but for the most part you will always find a few results if not many.
We have a column in our search results for anything with our home town name. Its great for us to find new people in town, local events, other business’ and just in general any news going on. For instance, just last week we found out that our downtown was out of power due to an accident knocking over some power cables. It showed up under our “category” depicted below from a few people that were there and “tweeted” out what happened. Twitter also informs us about local eateries, sales, etc when people send out “tweets” about their experience. One last of many reasons to use the “search” feature based on your hometown or any other city is the Real Estate market. Many realtors are jumping on board. At least once or twice a day, we’ll see a “tweet” about a home in our town up for sale. So if you are looking for homes in a certain city or just want to keep abreast of your own town, this is another wonderful way to use Twitter Search.
- Retail and Support
Example: We researched a company called VMWare which provides the ability for MAC users to put Windows on their computer. We did two searches on Twitter. The first was a search regarding VMWare, the phrases we used were keywords like “VMWare reviews” and “VMWare complaints”. We saw well over 1000 results. The difference here rather then using Google is that these results were a sentence or two, not a website addresses and they were from real people with real experience. With that said, we purchased VMWare and when installing it and going through the process we came up with a hurdle we couldnt figure out. Back to twitter, searched “VMWare” and sure enough VMWare’s account on twitter came up, we sent them a tweet and they resolved the issue an hour later by replying back.
You can also do searches for discounts. We do a search for discount codes on Twitter for any software we may want to purchase. While we do pay for all our software, to save a few bucks that the company endorses doesn’t hurt either. For example, we will search for “Software Name, Code” which sometimes gives a “checkout code” we can use when purchasing the software online. This also works well during the holidays for the retail environment like Macys, Nordstrom, etc. Companies will also send out “Twitter Only” codes to their followers.
- Business Ownership
If you own a company, do a search. We have a client who has a good size client base and an even larger exposure to the general community. When we were setting them up with their website we also did a Social Media intervention. Setting them up across the board with Blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. After establishing their identity on these platforms, we did a search on Twitter for their company name. To their surprise, there was over 300 results. Most were positive experiences with their product but there was also several over-the-top compliments and 3 that were very critical of the company. This search did several things. First it made this company realize of the un-tapped client base that was out there and gave them a chance to “follow” them on twitter. Secondly, this company also was able to reply back to some of those “tweets” that were complimentary which made that person feel appreciated and finally they were able to do something critical which was correspond with those 3 that were upset with the company. They were able to contact them and ask for another chance. True 1 to 1, business to client communication. Of course, some of us may not have a business that is that exposed in the community but you never know who out there is writing about you or your brand. It use to be if someone had a bad experience or good experience they would tell a few of their friends but with today’s social media, if that person has 300 people who follow them, that’s 300 people that hear their gripe or praise about your company.
That is some of the uses of Twitter Search. The url address to use is search.twitter.com. When using Social Media, we use a free program called TweetDeck which sorts everything into columns. It lets you filter Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Foursquare, Myspace and Google Buzz. It also lets you take searches from within Twitter to make a column. We create a column based on certain keywords like our hometown, design, etc. It saves tons of time keeping up with whatever we want in the Social Media world and avoids needing to go to Facebook’s page. Pictured below is a screenshot of our Tweetdeck. You can get the free download at www.tweetdeck.com.
The new Yellow Pages…Biggie Sized. Search for anyone by name, school, etc. More and more companies are using Facebook and other Social Media sites to find out about you. In most start-ups and industry companies they dont even care about your resume. Resumes are a thing of the past. Your next interview, when you show up, don’t be surprised if they dont ask you about your job from 8 years ago but instead inquire about a recent status you wrote regarding how you “wish your boss would just leave you alone”. Get ready to explain because regardless of the privacy you may think you have, you dont. If you are going to put it on the web, treat it like everyone can read it, even if you think they cannot. Facebook Search can be very powerful for anything regarding…you. So yes its great for finding old friends and colleagues, etc but keep in mind it can work against you or for you when it comes to employment.
Facebook also has “search codes” for a more specific find. For instance, lets say you are looking for an old work friend from 10 years ago. As time goes by, we remember less so you are not sure if Dave was 23 or 34…yes it happens and you know it. With Facebook search you can add “strings” to find people by age for example. So lets say you are looking for “Dave Jones” and you cant remember his age exactly but know he must be in his late 30s by now so instead you type in “Dave Jones” but you get pages of listings with such a generic name. You can enter the following search to narrow it down: “name: Dave Jones y1: 35 y2: 40”. What this does is search for the full name “Dave Jones” between ages 35 and 40. A simple string in the search that takes your results from 23 pages to maybe 2 pages.
Two more features are the Classmate and Coworker Searches. Link to Classmate Search on Facebook and Link to Coworker Search. One more nice feature in Facebook Search is the ability to search for 2 or more names within 1 search by using the “vertical line” key “|“. So for example, the search results displayed after searching John Doe | Jane Doe includes both John Doe search results with Jane Doe search results in the same list.
Our 2nd part to his article will cover searches in Flickr, Wikipedia, Foursquare and YouTube. Remember, comments are always welcomed. Here is a nicely done video from Eric Qualman, author of “Socialnomics”. You can follow him on Twitter or purchase his book “Socialnomics” on Amazon. There is also an Audio Book version on itunes.