Searching Social Media Got Harder in 2015

booleanstrings Boolean

needle-haystack

It never gets boring in our profession! Ways to search online change all the time. Here’s a quick outline of some changes that happened this year in searching on the four major Social Networks – LinkedIn, Twitter, Google-Plus, and Facebook.

On LinkedIn, changes usually appear unannounced; overnight we are switched to new UI and different (usually, more restricted) ways to search. To create even more confusion, LinkedIn changes are being gradually rolled out to members, so it’s hard for us to compare notes. A recent example of such a change is the LinkedIn Group member search – it was gone as part of the recent Group redesign and is coming back in a restricted fashion: we will be able to search for Group member names only.

Google is now indexing Twitter. However, the top Twitter search service Topsy, the only service that indexed every Tweet “from the beginning of times”, was just abruptly shut down.

The recent Google-Plus UI redesign has stripped down its (weak, anyway) search for people by school and company functionality. Google-Plus has “tuned down” some of its features, such as Circles – they still exist, but are barely available via the new UI. There’s a “back to classic G+” link that allows to reverse the changes when you are logged in, but obviously, not for too long.

The Facebook Graph search still exists in the back end software code, but was officially removed from the home page search box about a year ago. Keyword searching in the text box on home page is no longer a productive way to run advanced searches. Sourcers use tools that provide back-door access to the Graph search, like Shane McCuscker’s and Michael Buzzel’s.

Hmm… this all sounds rather grim. There is a number of newer search/sourcing tools that I will describe in a future post. But it does feel like our industry needs new, better software tools. Hopefully, we will see some in 2016!

Here is something I can predict for the upcoming year – see the next post, Change Your Search Strings for 2016.

>>> Keep up-to-date, search deeper, and be more productive in 2016 by pre-ordering the upcoming

“300 Best Boolean Strings”.

Feeling adventurous? Try yourself out in the 2015 End of the Year Contest and you may win the “300 Strings”.