The changes in the Internet are very interesting to follow. Once upon a time, the browser service was the central hub upon which all of your surfing would be based. For the past few years, it’s been the search engines. Just now, though, all eyes are turning toward social media like Facebook and Twitter. This is especially interesting since Google has recently come out with its own browser software, thus making its own bid for the throne in the Browser Wars.
A lot of social media sites also have their own search engines, to help you find things on their sites that interest you. Of course, they have their share of paid adds, but that just helps them to be able to afford the expenses associated with keeping their sites running. The interesting thing is that the “search” bar at the top of the page is only half of the engine, even though it’s the whole of the software.
Facebook’s real search engine is everyone you know on it. Anything they find interesting enough to post or to list as a “Like”, you can check up on for yourself. It’s a more intuitive way of both finding things and being found, because it depends as much on your assessment of people as it does on your active interest in the thing you’re looking at.
The difference between social media like Facebook and conventional search engines like Google is that, with Facebook, one is not searching for salable goods or information so much as for people. The other two can be found – there are plenty of pages dedicated to companies or subjects that people love and on which they want to gather information, but finding and keeping up with people is the main goal.
This has made social media very important lately, because life itself (both in work and leisure) has more to do with one’s interactions with others than it does with finding data or a good deal on a product. As the Internet changes, this will become more and more apparent, I think, through what takes prominence online and what services see the most use.