I read this great post (as usual) today from Chris Brogan about Yahoo Groups vs Google Groups. His point was that if you were looking in one of these sites for a group, that the search functionality of the Google Groups was vastly superior to the Yahoo functionality. When I did a little test of the search I found myself in complete agreement.
This really got me thinking about how critical search functionality is - it doesn't matter how good something is if you can't find it. Search results that give me back 20 (or 200) pages of results that I then have to swim through is not very effective.
So why is this so interesting? Well because I suspect that finding the thing we are looking for is probably the single most difficult thing to do on the web and within our websites. Welcome SEO. But what else can we do?
How can we help our audiences find what they are looking for?
How can we optimize our content so it's easier to navigate through?
I read Beth's Blog post about
and one of the things that caught my eye was:
"Maybe we're getting stuck in the encounter stage. As Liz notes in the comments of this post, "All I know is that more time than ever is spent saying “hello,” and less time is spent actually talking." So, how do you resist the fast friends or friend collecting and get to know people when you don't have huge amounts of time?"
I think this whole discussion had been from perspective of social networking sites where we busily connect to people in a superficial way, and then that's the end of it.
What's so interesting about this question to me is that in the groups and blog posts that are around specific issues or topics the opposite thing happens. We jump right in with our ideas and opinions and responses without necessarily really knowing the others in the groups. Depending on the nature of the group we might get really personal fast, and then over time we really come to know and understand each other.
It makes me realize the importance of content and the value of topics of mutual interest to get the conversations started. I guess that's pretty obvious now that I think about it.