As I was responding to a comment on my post about who we follow, I realized how I really used social media. In my comment, I mentioned that I use Google Reader and FriendFeed as information filters. For example, I am not fluent in all things Facebook, so I make sure that I review what Jesse Stay is sharing. I am also not a marketing expert, so I look at what Michael Fruchter is sharing. Ignoring the information filtering concept, an analogy popped into my head when writing my comment.
Social media is defining what good information is on the internet in the same way that Google’s PageRank was doing. PageRank was initially defining authority by how many people linked to your site or blog post. There has been some evolution in this, but the general concept is still used. Technorati uses this concept to define blog authority as well. The problem is that it is only a piece of the authority puzzle. Social media changes the idea a bit by allowing a user to share something they have found with various people. Then other users of the same site can tag the article as something worthy of reading by digging, liking and upvoting.
Granted, the mainstream has not really entered the social media game, but social media is pushing itself into mainstream networks like Facebook. Is social media search the way people will eventually find “authoritative” information or people? I am not saying that social media search is a Google killer, but could it be the place where people are looking for a specific nugget of “user approved” information?