How the Web is Becoming a Big Word of Mouth Machine

The day started with Robert Scoble discussing how “social graph-based search” (Mahalo, Techmeme, Facebook, etc.) is going to beat Google and other search engines.

Scott Karp summarizes Robert’s points:

  • Humans can judge what’s missing from an aggregation of information on a topic
  • The key to effective human filtering is leveraging a “fabric of trusted individuals”/”people who are trusted and credible”
  • By connecting these trusted people through a social network, you can leverage that resulting social graph to validate trust and create network effects

Then, Karl Martino added:

(…) there is a growing role for “Trusted Human Editors In Filtering The Web”. Our friends, our families, our communities. Not just machines and algorithms. My favorite and fellow bloggers, Slashdot, Salon, the home page of the NYTimes, Philly Future, Shelley Powers, Scott himself, my news reader subscriptions, are all trusted humans, or representations of trusted humans, filtering the Web for me. So it
still comes down to trust – What organizations do we trust? What systems do we trust? What communities do we trust? What people do we trust?

What it means: I believe the web is slowly transforming itself into a big word of mouth machine. Social will eventually be embedded directly in the fabric of the world wide web. Media companies have an advantage today as they are a trusted source but those that resist the “socialization” of the web will be left behind. In the directory business, there is a saying that word of mouth is the biggest competitor out there. I think it can become the biggest opportunity in local search.


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