Are We Searching For Value?

by Jay Deragon on 12/20/2010

Life is a search. Some find what they are looking for and others never find anything

Searching for people and things has come a long way over the last five years. The utility of being able find relevant people and things helps improve personal and professional productivity.

Ken Mallon and Duncan Southgate writes at Advertising Age: Search evolves, but not everyone notices.

“Social media will affect search in two ways. Firstly, search will become increasingly real-time as users take advantage of Google and Bing search results, including Twitter and Facebook updates, or use Twitter search as a standalone application. Secondly, the meshing of search and social will be embodied by the arrival of Google’s Social Search option, where you can see the information posted by people within your online social circle.

Major search providers, including Google, MSN and Yahoo are all focusing heavily on the new .mobi search domain. Travel and hospitality brands in particular will be interested in this new development as it fits well with the behavior of their target customers. Rapidly improving mobile applications such as map-based search and Google Goggles’ picture-based search will encourage more consumers to search on the move.”

Reversing the Intent of Search

Brands and merchants are just discovering that unless they can be found buyers are not likely to “engage” with them.  Social media is increasing buyer awareness given the massive propagation of offerings on sites like Twitter and Facebook. However, most of the awareness is really coming from friends of friends rather that from brands and merchants.  Search is relevant when people are looking for someone or something. But search by itself only increases awareness while attention, attraction and transactions come from buyer experiences and value  shared with others.

The intent to search is to find something or someone. Once found the subsequent experiences determine whether people will give you any time to consider your content as valuable, .  People spend time and attention looking for things. People come ready made to transact but they’ll only give you a moment to prove your value.

Sometime in the near future the term and process of “searching” will become more valuable because search engines will be able to index value in a more sophisticated way.

The Social Value Index

The SVI will become  a performance indicator that measures the value of individuals and organizations to leverage assets reduce friction and effectively exchange value with others.

The old system of search measured  performance based on traffic. Traffic is not always indicative of value nor does popularity always indicate value. In the future we are likely to see the emergence of a SVI as a social value score which will measure both individual and organizational contribution of social currency to create economic value for the marketplace of consumers.

Economic value is measured not only by price but also by the utility and performance of an offering. Utility and performance are centric to the productivity provided by something or someone. People provide knowledge. Things provide utility. There is economic value in both and people use them for different purposes.

The SVI will ultimately measure the value of leveraging assets (knowledge and things), the reduction of friction (time and productivity),the exchange of value (how people and things interact with the human network) and thus the SVI score will  reflect a new economic paradigm driven by value.  Sound impossible? People and organizations are already searching for the things that ultimately will create the SVI.

Remember the things we are learning about social media are not about making money from social media rather the means of creating economic value from social currency.

While many think social search will indeed change things the real change will be when the function of search is designed around fulfilling people’s intent to find value.

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