08 MarSocial media filters, moving forward from now

Twitter has lists & hashtags. That’s fine.
Facebook has lists, groups, pages, fine-grain privacy controls and the ability to hide users from our stream. That’s fine.

So what’s the problem??? — Relevance!

Is the data relevant for you in this moment? If you work in the tech world or even (and especially) in the social media space, it’s pretty likely that managing all of your connections  and non-stop, real-time data can be a major undertaking.

Twitter and Facebook have provided us with some basic tools for managing our data streams, but they are still relatively rudimentary and require us to manually categorize our connections by placing them, one-at-a-time into lists or groups of contacts.

I haven’t yet seen anything that goes beyond this level of sophistication for segmenting and filtering out, in real-time, data based on RELEVANCE and not merely upon the source of the data.

Hashtags and Twitter Search begin this process but there are some issues with these tools.

Hashtags are not used by everyone and therefore lose relevance as a tool since important information may not be tagged in a way that brings it to your attention.

An advanced Twitter Search can turn up some pretty relevant data in real-time; and some fancy RSS feed action can make this data more useful, but this tends to cast a wide net and still requires some significant wading to find the data that is most relevant for you. You can build some very specific searches that turn up more targeted data but this also typically filters out some terms you may not have thought of and ends up in a multitude of Twitter search RSS feeds to manage.

If this all sounds like a hell of a lot of work…that’s because it is.

As more of the world adopts Twitter, Buzz and other real-time data sharing technologies, we will have more people connecting with us, and hence, a bigger challenge then we’ve ever seen in trying to read more of what helps move us to forward and less of what doesn’t.

Social media isn’t going away. So how can we stay on top of our game? Well right now you can geek out and plug some Twitter search feeds into Google Reader and you’ll find your reader full of interesting things.  But it takes a special type of geek to even consider playing around with this level of “real-time, data-piping architecture”.

So what do the rest of us do?
I have a few ideas that may help moving forward.

Redundant tweet filtration

It’s my guess if you’ve read this far, that you know a lot of people on Twitter, many of which re-tweet and share the same articles. How many times do you really need to read a tweet about Google’s new policy change? Tweets that share the same links or information could be filtered out or downplayed to make room for unique information.

Real-time tweet relevance filtration

Google certainly has the advantage in this area.  In fact this technology is already in place in Google’s own search engine in the form of suggested search queries.  And even more robustly in the keyword selection tool for their ad network, Google Adwords.

The system knows what words and phrases are generally synonymous or in some way related. On Google.com the technology returns the most popular search terms based on the search habits of entire populations.  Imagine though if your tweet stream (tweets from those you follow) were filtered by relevance to your interests and even the specifics of your current project.  This reality isn’t far for Google.

Better collaborative spam filtration

Perhaps unfortunately for Twitter, Google has a clear lead here again. Gmail has provided a surprisingly spam resistant email experience based upon the ability to block spam message across the entire network given the input of the community it serves, Gmail users.

Yet over at Twitter, auto DMs haunt Twitter like an over-friendly neighbor with bad hygiene. Much of it outright offensive spam that has NO basis on any relationship with you or specific interest of yours as a prospective customer. [dramatic rant]

Google has always been about relevance and “organizing the world’s information”.   Given their ability to provide content in a relevance-centric fashion, I see potential for Google to truly move into social media in an even bigger way in the coming future when there is a potential for more noise in the social space.

Written by Joshua Guffey.  You can follow me on Twitter: @JoshuaGuffey

What do you have to say about this?
How else can we mere mortals manage to keep up with the increasing influx of information?  How  do you think the playing field will change in the next 6-12 months?

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Joshua Guffey

Project Manager at Dependable Data Services
Father. Husband. Search Marketing Professional. Conversion Optimization Consultant. Love Rumi.