BuzzShare: Lex Bradshaw-Zanger – Social By Design is the Only Filter
Posted by Chris Campaner on August 7th, 2012
Lex is a Client Partner within the Business Partnerships team at Facebook in Paris, France. Here are his thoughts on the evolution of choice and influence, taken from his great blog, Relatively Digital.
In a world of exploding choice, where technology and industrialisation mean that supply can vastly outstrip demand, social is really the only filter that works to get real answers to complex choices.
A real life example from this week, that shows how much further we really have to go: a group of friends are visiting New York City, where my wife and I both used to live (not together – which is relevant) and wanted a list of restaurants to eat at; really they want to know what to do, but this is a big list, and he is in the food business so the eating part is critical.
Now if you look at the choice process for an individual, the funnel today looks something like this:
all the restaurants in NYC (& Brooklyn)
all the restaurant aggregators, services, reviews and guides
all the online restaurant services
all the online services that allow you to book electronically (good when your english is limited)
the actual restaurants that allow you to book electronically
So, the point is that it’s hard to make a choice, even with the tools available and then to act on it; so we tend to give up on this and just ‘ask a friend’. In this case, he asked us for a list (and even to book some of them – which is really a must in NYC). So here is where it’s interesting that my wife and I both lived in NYC at different times – we each have our own top 10 list of restaurants and there are only a few that seem to overlap. So just using a social approach by asking a couple of friends can either lead to another set of massive results or be very inconclusive.
This is where social by design comes in, if I could quickly access a service that combines all of my friends restaurants + ratings for a given city (Zagat.com isn’t Facebook enabled) then I’d save myself a lot of hassle; then add to this the facility to book and confirm reservations (much like OpenTable.com which isn’t Facebook enabled either) then I’d be a happy camper.
I’m not the first to raise this, and TripAdvisor.com has done a great job in the travel business (check out their site when logged in with Facebook) but the point is really that social by design is a must in today’s society of endless choice; drop down menus, categories, meta filters and even natural language analysis just don’t cut the mustard and only our friends can be a real source of trusted information (ref:
Nielsen: Global Consumers’ Trust in ‘Earned’ Advertising Grows in Importance).