Back in December, I had the opportunity to speak at the Defrag Conference alongside Dick Hardt (now at Microsoft) and Chris Shipley of DEMO.
During that talk, I referred to the trend of “information day trading” across the social web on services like Twitter and FriendFeed.
For many people like myself, information is rapidly becoming a currency which is traded in exchange for competitive advantage, traffic (re-Tweets), and social status. In the past I have likened some of this information harvesting as sifting for gold using social filters. This is a major trend and with recent advances in real-time search, which TechCrunch dubbs ‘mining the thought stream’ the opportunities are staggering.
Information harvesting, using social filters to “bubble up” what is most valuable, has been used for years in the real world. When several persons with high social capital arrive at similar conclusions, or make reference to the same thing independently of one another, you know it’s worth paying attention to.
Back in 2005, Fred Wilson (a venture capitalist) wrote about the role that social filters play in his deal making, particularly in use of multiple sources to validate a concept’s potential:
Nassim Taleb, author of the Black Swan, has been quoted as stating:
“Don’t read newspapers for the news. The best filter(s) to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants, or at parties.”
Thanks to the technology and rapidly growing communities underlying social platforms like Friendfeed, we have increasingly sophisticated networks meshing together social capital, discovery and sharing capabilities. The intelligence that can be derived for specific industries, age groups and cultures is continually growing and amazingly niche. On average, I share 5+ hyperlinks daily on Google Reader alone.
Here are several paltforms being used to trade and share information. The list below also does a great job of “bubbling-up” the best of these infobits:
- Digg – The service that put ‘bubbling up’ information via crowd sourcing on the map. Share a link and let the community vote on how valuable it is.
- Del.icio.us – The pioneer in socializing web bookmarks (here is my analysis of Delicious as a tool for informational competitve advantage)
- FriendFeed Likes & Search: FriendFeed is hoping to take the concept of â€œliking information” mainstream. Robert Scoble has a great post called ‘Things I have Learned by Clicking Like 15,301 Times’ — definitely worth a read. The recent launch of FriendFeed’s real-time search opens the possibility of further insight into who-likes-what
- Facebook Status Updates: Links: Just last week, Facebook seemingly cloned FriendFeed by adding the option for a “like” link on News Feed items. With one simple click within a stream of activities, you can indicate that you like a specific item and view all of the other people that have also clicked to show they liked it. Social Ads are another take on harvesting the social graph
- Yammer/SocialCast – Socialcast uses a “like” feature applied in an enterprise context
- Google Social Search - Google rolled out a new voting system several months ago, allowing users to vote up and down Google results based on perceived relevancy
- Bit.ly Now TwitterFeed - Bit.ly is a URL shortening service created by Betaworks. Bit.ly Now is a Twitter feed, aggregating the Bit.ly links that have been shared and/or clicked with the greatest frequency
- Stocktwits - Not currently bubbling up content, but since we’re talking information day trading, it’s a service worth mentioning: traders exchanging links and tips
Update: Fred Wilson has authored a really compelling post on what he calls “Passed Links” — hyperlinks that are passed between users on social networks. The conversion rates (the click rate) is much higher because they are being delivered from an authoritative or trusted source. This is exactly what I am referring to by “information day trading” — and the people who share the best information are rewarded by gaining social capital within their networks. Here’s a video of Fred talking Passed Links at the 140 Conference.