4 Ways Facebook Graph Search Will Transform User Behavior

It will be uncomfortable for some.

But, the introduction of Facebook graph search on Tuesday sets in motion an entire new standard in the way people approach their personal and company pages on the social media giant.

“Graph Search is a completely new way for people to get information on Facebook,” Founder/CEO/Chairman Mark Zuckerberg said in Menlo Park, Calif., during a press conference Jan. 15. The so-called “third pillar” of Facebook is expected to roll out in beta over the next few weeks to a few hundred thousand users in the U.S., he said.

Essentially, graph search allows users to find  information within the site that’s been shared with them over time by their friends–or, based on privacy settings, by friends-of-friends and the public–on specific attributes of people, places, companies, photos and videos. For example, recruiters and business development staff will be able to find those who have worked at a certain company; marketers will be able to identify people who have certain interests; and single people will be able to locate fellow singles who have Likes in common: music, movies, activities, etc.

Facebook users’ efforts to capitalize on these personal and professional networking and resource-finding opportunities will create an organic transformation of user behavior. In case you want to get a head start on readying your own personal or company profile for graph search, the new standard will look a little something like this:

Privacy settings, relaxed

Facebook graph search only works as much as you allow it to work. In order to be “matched” via search results to the widest pool of potential employers, consumers, clients, activity buddies or romantic dates, your information will have to be available to friends-of-friends or even the public. Those who had always kept their profile on lock down will be drawn out, for the simple reason of the potential added personal and professional value graph search enables.

Detailed lists, a necessity

Lists will become the bread and butter of maintaining Facebook as a place where you can post photos of you and your friends at Tequila Tuesday, but at the same time show your best self to potential dates and your professional self to would-be employers. New lists segmenting your different types of Friends will have to be created with this in mind, and each share on one’s Facebook timeline must be accompanied by a carefully selected list.

Profile info updates, often

The job of your dreams, the love you’ve been waiting for, could potentially find you via Facebook graph search, or so it’s been hyped. Whether or not the fairy tale will come true, it is accurate to say your profile would come up in results based on the key word queries of recruiters and potential dates. Basic personal profile information, now housed in the “About” and “Likes” sections, will have to be up to date if the “matching” service is to be effective. Constant tweaking of the personal profile, due to a new skill added to one’s resume, or a just-discovered best-band-ever, will ensue. Same goes for company pages. SEO applies here, in the same way it has dictated how Linkedin company and personal profiles are written.

Company reviews, frequent and high quality

It’s the egotistic and altruistic nature of people to offer their opinion when they know it will be considered by those in their circles. With graph search allowing friends, and potentially friends-of-friends, to view a person’s  insights into local hits and misses, Facebook users will think twice before closing out the box that prompts them to leave a  helpful tip at a place where they just checked in or post a review for a company page they just Liked. Additionally, the assurance their every word will be on full display in search results begets more honest and thorough reviews.

What other aspects of user behavior will change in a post-graph-search world? Share your insights in the comments.

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