Today was full of some serious tech revelations for myself based on topics and issues that I’ve never really taken the time to dive very deep into. The first panel was all about the future of Social Search and how search engine technology is adapting to the world of social media.
I learned about quite a few sites that allow you to search twitter and other social networks such as facebook to pull in reports about how much a topic is trending in these online environments. I’m not going to go to deep here but I’ll list a couple of the most talked about, for you to investigate on your own. listorious.com, oneriot.com , Aardvark They all do things in entirely different ways and it sounds like things are still evolving on this front for sure. The search zeitgeist truly hope that one day we’ll be able to search our friends and discover their favorite purchases so that you can use the information to make educated purchases yourself. Just one of many examples they were explaining this information could be used. Sounds like a privacy nightmare to me though, if you can search your friends purchasing habits, who else can do the same?
I have to admit, I’ve been a late adopter to Twitter and I’ve only done the bare minimum in the past to try to take part in the community. After this conference, which was essentially a crash course in how powerful Twitter is, I do see myself getting my Tweeting act together. For those of you not really into Twitter yet let me give you an example of how this tool is being used at the conference. For everyone that is attending the conference, or already in the twitter know, this might not be very news worthy but to someone who has not experienced a lecture with this technology in play, it really does demonstrate perfectly just what Twitter is and why it is so freaking cool.
So in the world of Twitter, you have a hash tag “#tag”, which is used as a switch to denote a trending topic in the Twitterverse. Think of it as a bookmark that allows you to pull together the current live conversation about a specific topic. Say you want to follow the conversation for everything people are currently saying on Twitter about sxsw, you simply go to the search function of Twitter and enter the pound sign plus the tag for the topic. #sxsw. Then hit search. What you will then see is a real-time search stream for everyone currently tweeting with the #sxsw tag in their tweet.
In the lecture forums for SXSW interactive, every panel is given a hash tag. A laptop is placed on a projection screen with the search feed for the panel displayed so the entire room, as well as the world via the internet, can watch and participate in the trending conversation. What you end up with is a global stream of participants involved with the panel. Some will certainly find this distracting but what it does in my opinion is give you a real sense of community and a community where everyone has a relevant voice that is capable of being heard. It is almost as if you are witnessing an event, while being able to read whats on everyone’s mind about the event, without interrupting the event. Crazy? Cool? I vote cool.
So all you non Tweeters out there, what have you got to lose? Sign up start following some folks, they’ll more than likely follow you back and then join in the global conversation!
Only one more day of the Interactive Conference to go. So far it’s been an awesome experience. More tomorrow!