The Graph Search Dictionary
As a self-proclaimed social media expert (I’ve just now started using the hashtag #SocialMediaNerds for some of my more geeky tweets), I immediately understood the power of Facebook’s new graph search once I got approved. Though the tool is still in beta, users can join a waiting list to jump in on the new tool while it’s being tested. Once approved, users have full access to this new feature. I’ve had graph search for over a month now, so while it’s newness has worn off, I’m still exploring the capabilities that come with a command-based search.
For me, the tool seems pretty self-explanatory. However, last night, my social media journalism class was lucky enough to have Scott Kleinberg come and speak with us about, well, social media. I brought up graph search and asked him what he thought about it and he essentially said that, while it was cool, there was nothing special about it because there was no public search option. You could only search through your friends, he said.
I was shocked, to say the least. I knew that public search was possible through the graph search tool. But when he gave an example of a search he’d used, I understood why he wasn’t getting the results he was looking for. Some people’s problem with graph search – particularly journalists – is that they don’t know the correct terminology that they have to use to get the results they want. So, I put together a guide to what you need to type for different types of searches.
- Start a search with “my friends” if you want to limit search results to ONLY your friends.
- If you want to conduct a public search, start your search off with “people”. NOTE: The first people that will show up through any graph search are your friends. You must scroll through your friends that match the criteria to get to the public search part.
- You can also specify if you are looking for a specific gender by starting off the search with either “men” or “women”.
- Use the “who live” command to narrow down the search geographically.
- Use the “who like” command to filter people by what pages they have liked.
- There are two different uses for the “who are interested in” command. The first is an alternate to the “who like” command. Both do the same thing when searching for people who like a specific brand, page, place, whatever. This command can also be used to filter results by their sexual preference. So, for example, if you were looking for gay men in Hartford, Connecticut, you would search “Men who are interested in men who live in Hartford, Connecticut”. That search alone pulls in more than 1,000 people.
- If you’re looking for a restaurants close to where you are, you can type “Restaurants nearby”.
- If you want a restaurant close to where you are that your friends have been to, you simply add “that my friends have been to”.
- You can also look for restaurants that either you or your friends have liked on Facebook by saying either “that I like” or “that my friends like”.
- You can mix and match these few simple commands in hundreds of ways, tailoring your search to exactly what you’re looking for.
Graph search will be an adjustment once it hits the Facebook population soon. Like any other change on Facebook, people will complain about it and demand the old version back. But after a little “get to know you” period, graph search will transform the Facebook community into even more of a virtual fountain of knowledge. Graph search persuades people to like more pages, use the check in option more and search in ways that were never possible before.
If you haven’t done so already, I highly suggest you join the beta wait list now. Jump ahead of the curve and learn how to use graph search before it hits the public.