August 15, 2013

Humans. Not Algorithms.

James Neufeld by James Neufeld

Search. It’s not an easy thing to solve. Especially if you’re searching for things that may not yet exist or things that may change at any moment. This is the reality of searching for content on social networks.

We see two predominant ways to find content on social networks today, Algorithms and Humans. Algorithms are great for spotting trends or finding things like general opinion. Algorithms will typically aid humans in the discovery of content. What we call the Human method, are people that manually scan social networks and very laboriously hunt down great content. These people are often curators, journalists, reporters, media professionals, PR professionals and the like.

In the very early stages of SAM, we observed those that manually scanned social networks searching for content beat out any trending or discovery tool by at least an hour, often much more. By the time algorithms picked up on an trend or anomalies, most of the connected world already knew about the event or news. Granted it is interesting to know how popular a subject is, but we guarantee if the subject is lacking substance, content, common interest, it will never be popular. And so it seemed the core of finding great content was largely driven by the laborious Human approach vs the Algorithm.

Our approach to search in SAM is exactly that. We say search, not discovery. Our users are those that know what they are looking for and want to be on top of the story long before it’s a trend. SAM helps users pin point content that they know will be important or relevant to them and their audiences. Our propose in all of this is to aid search with technology. SAM does all the heavy lifting (and more in many cases) of an algorithmic discovery engine, however we don’t assume context or relevance. Instead, we provide a powerful graphical interface that puts the human in control. So you say, SAM show me tweets from people with less than 500 followers and has an image from this this location, and SAM does. Or, show me tweets from only my trusted sources that include video.

Our role is to empower. Your role is to do what you do best.

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