Facebook Graph Search will change the way new supporters find your organization

Way back in 2004, at the first Advocacy Developer’s Summit, I remember sitting in a circle with some really bright non-profit engineers that were promoting the future of a Friend of a Friend (FOAF) protocol, in which thinking a few years down the road, would easily help you discover relationships between you and your friends and potentially provide insight to help you make buying (and supporting) decisions.

Unfortunately, FOAF never really caught on.  Instead, the world became smitten with a walled garden called Facebook, which provided an easy and user-friendly experience for making connections between your friends, and sharing your likes and preferences.

One of the grand visions of FOAF, at least for me, was the idea that as a FOAF network was built, you’d be able to have rather organic connections between individuals that could allow you to be informed based not on advertising, but on the choices made by your friends.  These connections with your friends, while are not expert opinions, tend to have a better correlation with your own interests, and ultimately (hopefully) making your life in a complex choice world easier.

Well, 8 years and hundreds of millions of users later, I think Facebook is now on the verge of providing one of the most compelling discovery tools we’ve ever seen, and the effects of it likely will be profound for organizations, especially advocacy organizations.

Facebook Graph Search

It’s all about search.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced their new Facebook Graph Search, a much needed search tool that will slowly be rolled out to the Facebook community over time.  This, however, doesn’t seem to be like any other search tool you’ve likely used before.  Instead, using natural language and powered by the preferences of your network of friends, Facebook Graph Search will mean that more initial connections to your organization will likely come via a friend of a friend connection.

Essentially, when searching on Facebook using the new Graph Search, it’s likely that your organization will appear more prominently when more friends of the person search have connected or interacted with your organization’s Facebook page in some way.

What does this mean for organizations, and how should you change your approach?  It’s probably too tough to tell right now.  With the service still in its very early stages, the actual results of these search is still a big unknown.  That said, it’s probable that Facebook’s Graph Search will likely mean that the social networking giant will reward those following the best practices of online social networking:  communicate often and engage.

As the Facebook walled garden grows, it’s likely to become more important for organizations to adequately monitor and engage with their community of users in the new era of Graph Search, especially when the payoff could mean even more visibility on the world’s most powerful social networking service.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 at 11:53 pm and is filed under nptech. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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