Social search – getting your community and colleagues to help improve findability

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —September 24, 2007
Filed in Communication

Why does Google work? Because on the internet people link between sites. Popular sites are popular probably because they are relevant and more people link to these sites. As a result Google ranks them higher than others and hey presto when you Google the most highly ranked sites are at the top.

What happens on an intranet? Pages and pages of material is published and by comparison to the internet there is no linking. And as a result it’s hard to work out what is useful and what’s not. How many of you have searched for the “car booking” procedure for your department to find a myriad of other gumf totally unrelated to what you need? I have. And it’s a pain.

That’s why social search is going to be important. I’ve been playing around with social search for a while using Eurekster’s Swickis. Here’s one I’ve created for people interested in business narrative.

Grab this swicki from

The idea is that whenever you do a business narrative related search and you find a hit that is a good one, you vote for it. Over time its ability to server the business narrative community improves. I’ve added it to the bottom of our blog and you can easily add it to yours as well.

Imagine using this type of tool on your intranet where over time you good efforts make the search engine work for you rather than something you have to battle with. In fact we will be relying more and more on our colleagues and community members to keep abreast of the tsunami of information coming our way. This is one was to do it.

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:


  1. Mark Schenk says:

    I was in the offices of today and they have a cool swicki set-up on their intranet. Its only new and the jury is still out but great to see this being done for real in organisations. And speaking of cool, are one of the finalists for the ‘Cool Company Awards’ being run by Australian Anthill ( The winners are announced on 27 September.

  2. Melissa says:

    I really like the idea finding what you want via a related search. Is Swicki the same thing as social bookmarking? I’m looking to connect with people who have common interest in anything to do with writing, authors, publishing, motivation, fiction.

  3. Shawn says:

    Social bookmarking is quite different to social search. For an excellent description of social bookmarking check our Common Craft’s intructional video.

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