Social Discovery & circle recommendations closing gap on traditional search

Firstly, I must make it clear I do not believe there is a so called “shift” from search to news/product discovery. Audiences will continue to search for their desires at research and conversion stages of the funnel, for many years to come.  However, it is obvious the gap is closing between the two due to the more influential power our close circles has on us coupled by the speed of social network platforms. This was evident for me, first hand this afternoon. Following on from what the nation realised during the UK riots a few weeks ago, it was interesting to keep track of my search process from news discovery via a recommendation from my close circle.

15:00 – During my lunch break this afternoon I took timeout to check on my blackberry messenger updates for much anticipated peer-gossip, However, I was met with a news post that was of interest both my circle and I. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett had apparently seperated.

{Screenshot Blackberry Messenger}
Blackberry Messenger Screenshot

15:01 – One thing also taken away from the UK riots was that not only does news travel fast, but so do rumours. This being known, my natural subconscious went to google to confirm the rumour. Shock, Google only told me that Will and Jada are happily married and will never split (article from May 2010).

{Screenshot from Google}
Google screenshot

15:04 – I switch to twitter and within 10 seconds of sitting on the same landing page, occur 120 new updates surrounding the rumour from various renowned sources including TMZ. Not only that, it is already an established and is trending topic.

{Screenshot from Twitter}
Twitter Screenshot

This process of searching social networks for “new” content, e.g discount codes for new products, competitions, gossip and news is becoming second nature for a large percentage of us. It is interesting to see not only how discovery through recommendation is becoming more powerful in converting people to try new products and engage with new content, but the fact that instant mobile communication and recommendation via services such as SMS, blackberry messenger, pingchat and whatsapp are playing a huge roll in the consumer journey to the “new”. The way we interact within our closed circles is making a huge impact on the way we search for new desires as we continue to “Keep up with the Jones'”.

Articles I have recently read that also dictate a similar mantra include: Discovery will drive transactions and Skype buys GroupMe to tap into closed group chat.

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