Yahoo has been on the social media track for over a year now, with Flick & del.icio.us acquisitions leading the way to the socialization of Yahoo Local, Yahoo Search, Yahoo Photos, Travel and Yahoo Answers; and the recent Google acquisition of YouTube paired with the maturing of Google Co-op has raised some eyebrows in the search community.
The fact is, social media is the future of search. Microsoft’s Live.com has launched its QnA, tagging is a part (albeit small in some cases) of almost every major search engine, and Google is threatening to take over Yahoo’s grip on the Social Media market.
User generated meta information via tagging grouped with reviews, rankings, and blog content have become a major part of the SEO and Search Marketing mix. Over at Search Engine Guide, Jim Hedger (who’s really exploded on the search news scene as of late) takes a look at Search Marketing & Social Media:
In a social network, large groups of people who would otherwise likely be strangers associate with each other based on spider-web networks of contacts, friends, images, interests, and occupations, creating ever expanding communities. These communities, built around shared ideas and interests, draw users by giving them the ability to educate, inform and share with others.
Both Google and Yahoo have embraced social networking in their membership based services for years, starting with Yahoo Groups and Google’s Orkut. More recent products include Flickr (Yahoo), Picasa (Google), Yahoo Publisher Network, and Blogger (Google). The major search engines have learned from the lesson suffered by the music and movie industries over the past decade.
Social media applications have transited from trend to mainstream usage. Thousands of new users sign up for Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, Linked-In, Tribes and other community-active networks every day. As a result, blogging, image sharing and new-media content creation have move well beyond creative geekery and corporate PR departments to become a trans-global pastime. Now that the various social network tools have acquired mass-market popularity they represent a pirate’s treasure to corporate PR departments and the online marketers ready to serve them.
As far as treasure troves go, the world of social media is fairly easy to find; access and start working in. Creating a MySpace membership or a Flickr account is as easy as filling in a simple form. While building a MySpace profile is slightly more difficult than outfitting a Flickr portfolio, both are easy enough for new users to begin immediately. Partially because social media is so easy to use and partially because sharing information, recommendations and the latest outrageousness with friends and strangers alike is so cool, tens of millions of people have populated the social environments with hundreds of millions of files, ranging from music, images, documents and movies.