The future of search has been much debated in recent months. The advent of semantic search, Google’s Hummingbird algorithm and social signals are all focused on finding more relevant content. One way to discover interesting content is by searching for the most shared content across social networks. This crowdsourced approach surfaces content curated by real people who feel the content is valuable enough to share it with their friends and colleagues. 

Social Networks as a Discovery Layer

People are increasingly sharing things that they think their followers will find helpful on social networks. Pew Research recently found that 56% of social network users either specifically create content for their platform or curate content on their social network. 32% of users did both.

In the world trending content and news appears first on social networks. Tweets about the raid that discovered Osama Bin Laden, or the plane on the Hudson River, were the starting point for news stories. NASA announced the discovery of ice on Mars via a tweet from its @MarsPhoenix account. “Best day ever!!” it declared. As a consequence newsrooms have adopted social media as a source of news and content.

The development of social networks as a discovery layer is recognized by the networks such as Twitter. Data licensing is now Twitter’s second major revenue stream, as it sells its public data of about 500 million tweets each day. This allows companies to analyse consumer trends, shared content and to develop insights based on this data. On the financial markets, analysts have started using Twitter and the sentiment of tweets to predict the future value of businesses.

Why Crowdsource Content?

Search engines such as Google are looking to social engagement interaction as an indicator of content value. In a recent post on the future of search Eric Enge commented “while I firmly believe that a link in a Google+ share isn’t treated like a regular web link, it seems likely to me that it does have some SEO value when combined with other factors.”

A social network increasingly has value as a learning network or a personal editorial panel. All of us face a difficulty in keeping up with the vast amount of new information produced every day. It can be hard to keep up, to review and to filter out the valuable content. One way I have done this in recent years is to use a small group of people as my editorial board or as my personal learning network. I have find people that share interesting content and put them into Twitter lists so I can easily see what they are sharing. They help keep me updated and informed.

As social networks develop, and as people increasingly share content on these networks, it is creating a very valuable big data set which we can use to analyse what content people people are finding valuable and sharing with their networks. At BuzzSumo we have crawled over 100 million articles and tracked over a billion social signals so that you can search for and find the most shared content in any topic area.

BuzzSumo as a Social Search Engine

With BuzzSumo you can search for the most shared content in any topic area. Thus if you search for say ‘content marketing’ you will get a page of results on the most shared content, see image below.

Thus with BuzzSumo you can use a social search to crowd source and discover interesting content. You can then take this further, for example:

Filter by network

BuzzSumo shows you the most shared content across all of the main social networks. You can reorder the search results by each social network to find the most shared content on say Twitter or LInkedIn.

Filter by date

You can filter content such as the most shared content in the last day, last week, last month or last six months.

Filter by content type

You can further filter by the type of content you are interested in such as articles, videos and infographics.

Analyze influencers and amplifiers

You can view the people who shared the content by clicking View Sharers. You can also analyze what other links they have shared and see which domains they share most often. See the example below.

Summary

If you want to find great crowdsourced content give BuzzSumo a try. We would love to get your feedback and thoughts.

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