Listed

Hello, Dolly!
Image by Toni Barros via Flickr

Being in a social network is no longer enough: being listed is the new thing.

We came from push content in web 1.0 and power to the user in 2.0. With ‘lists’ we’re kinda going back to the content phase. With the rapid growth of useless information the user is urging to find relative content. Try to find: Dolly (Parton) on Google and you’ll be able to search for years through the 21 million results. Do the same at Delicious.com and you will not only have less results (only 4,000+) you will also be able to downsize those results by sharpening the search by adding tags. Users are getting fed up with search even though they don’t want anything else. As using Semantic Search does make it easier to find better results users are not finding their way to these engines since they require some basic knowledge and –mind you– will power to find what you want.

The user wants to be sure that he gets what he wants in a click or two. This idea is based on three principles:

Certainty
As we stated: the overload of websites, blogs and galleries makes the user more and more truculent when searching for the right answer. There’s just too much about nothing or –even worse– too much inaccurate information. In this ‘web’ the user is looking for quick and easy certainty.

Own
Users also want to own the information. They not only want to know, they want to be the first to know. This ownership started with usenet and grew to blogging and micro-blogging like Twitter. The eager of being the first to know or the most listened to is a result of this eagerness. Getting information is the start of showing knowledge and expertise whether you are a teacher with vodca’s or a MarCom professional with RT’s.

Want
The user just wants and acts like a baby: “I want it. But I don’t really know what or how to get it.” The user is more and more reluctant to describe the need accurately. Search has to be simple. After 10 years of Google the user is still not willing to use any search strings.

The enormous web drives users to new ways of search. They are looking for easier ways: no longer search individual but in groups, either by using tags and semantic or having other users listing approved results. It fulfills the need of certainty; others have checked it. They can still own the information; they can forward the results in their group. They find what they want; the lists is easy and short.

Examples are Delicious, Twitter Lists, and others.

Marco de Boer

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