Dave, in one of his periodic why-the-hell-have-I-chosen-a-career-in-SEO moments, sparked an office debate about whether things like Twitter could sound the (distant) death knell for search.
Part of his point was demographic. When da kidz are looking to see where Kirsty got her kewl Uggs (LOLZ), they possibly – probably – don’t even think to ask Google. They just ask Kirsty. And they ask Kirsty on IM, Twitter, Facebook or probably bloody Bebo for all I know. That circumvents Google altogether. And if youths aren’t growing up with search then that means the next generation of internet users might not use search as their first port of call at all.
Remember how quickly our TV viewing habits changed when you realised you could TiVo TisWas instead of waiting patiently for Saturday to roll around? We might think that search is eternal, but what if we’re just wrong.
It’s a sobering thought when paying your mortgage depends on people using Google.
We kind of all agreed that really, asking a giant computer where the best place to buy socks from is a bit weird when you think about it. More sense to ask someone you know – like your Auntie Eva, who seemingly buys nothing else. At least not for Christmas and birthdays. And once you find a good community site, you return to it for advice rather than blindly typing in pidgin English into Google.
Taking that thought to its logical conclusion, the future belongs to social not search.
As people turn more and more to apps on their Fancy Dan phones to talk to each other and discover new stuff maybe there is an argument that sitting in front of a desktop PC asking a computer program “buy socks online” is a tiny bit retrograde.
I think he’s probably wrong, but the floor’s open – share your thoughts!