It’s official – I’ll be working on social search!

I’m thrilled to report that a large company has given the go signal
for research on social computing. Social search, in particular. I’m
particularly excited about the opportunity to work with their internal
projects. This year is going to be so interesting!

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What gets me excited about social bookmarking?

First, there’s personal organization. I could never get the
hang of bookmarks and folders, and it was hard to remember what to
search for.

Then there’s social discovery. I check my del.icio.us once in a
while in order to find out what the latest bookmarks are in a certain
area, although I’m now slightly annoyed about the fact that most
bookmarks are either stuff I’ve already seen or stuff I don’t care
about.

So that’s not what I really like, either.

I somewhat like using del.icio.us to share URLs, but those tend to be
special-purpose tags we’ve agreed on beforehand. I don’t really tell
people to check out my http://del.icio.us/sachac/social links, for
example, because there are just too many links for people to sort
through properly. It’s the problem of navigating through someone
else’s personal information space.

Social search a la http://myweb2.search.yahoo.com isn’t that big for
me either because (a) I’m not connected enough to get much better
search results, and (b) I don’t trust that all the relevant sites have
been bookmarked, so I may as well go through a regular search engine.

Hmmm.

On the other hand, using event- (http://del.icio.us/tag/torcamp) or
issue-oriented tags like digitalpinay
(http://del.icio.us/tag/digitalpinay) made it easy to quickly gather
bookmarks without having to set up some kind of groupblog or wiki.

And I totally, totally, totally love checking out people’s bookmarks
and getting an idea of their interests.

Totally.

That’s my killer app for del.icio.us. Stalking. ;) No, no, it’s called
keeping up with old friends and making new ones.

And that’s why people check out my bookmarks,
too. Okay, well, they don’t really have a choice because
I include my bookmarks in my blog feed for my tech-savvy friends who
read lots of blogs, so other geeks can’t help but notice whenever I
bookmark tango websites and whatnot.

I wonder if there’s a business use for this, like the way I would
_really_ like being able to flip through other people’s
bibliographies. Stuff like that.

I CAN DO THIS. I just have to make sure that it’s not a solution in
search of a problem! <laugh>

See, PhD students can spend time figuring out what the problem is and
then thinking up a solution. What’s a master’s student supposed to do?

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