Graphing Facebook’s future and the possibilities for Graph Search

The online world is abuzz with the latest Facebook announcement regarding Graph Search, a new search function within Facebook that will allow users to filter search results based on their connections.

Facebook continues to be a unique dilemma for associations. While professional societies within certain industries tend to see remarkable connectivity and interactions on the platform, trade associations and businesses comprised mainly of C-level executive members are still relying on other platforms with stronger engagement.

More than this, as Facebook approaches its 9th birthday next month, everyone from our colleagues to our grandparents is now on the social networking site, further blurring the lines between personal and professional, and making it an increasingly noisy space for those who’ve yet to master their (to borrow a Google+ term here) “circles” or refined their privacy settings.

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Flickr photo by Will Merydith

All that being said, it will be interesting to see the real impacts (if any) associated with the first roll-out of Graph Search. Using filtered search features like geographic location, connected by, categories, photos, and video search might help meetings professionals organize events more effectively and aid social media managers in identifying key influencers in a targeted area. Membership professionals might just be able to recruit new members as well.

Still, I can’t help but wonder how effective this type of targeted marketing will be, especially after the controversy with Instagram’s (also owned by Facebook) recent controversy over their proposed changes in privacy settings. Will Facebook become the new email inbox, complete with spam and all? Or, will this new hybrid continue to evolve into a one-stop shop for all things personal and public, delivering new ways to connect and search via social? Or, is this just a new vehicle for selling sponsored search items or teaming up with Bing to compete head-to-head with Google?

One thing is for sure, Facebook and its 1 billion users have shared quite a few photos on the social network over the last 9 years, and rumor has it that this could potentially give Google a big run for its money.

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Flickr photo by clasesdeperiodismo

Either way, if you’re looking for a fun laugh and peak at how some beta users are playing with the new function, visit this Tumblr blog compiled by@TomScott.

Footnote: the same day I posted this blog (1/23/13), Google announced upgrades to its image search. This war is heating up – quickly!