While travelling in Asia, a friend asked me "Which hotel do you stay at when you're in Tokyo", it dawned on me that this is exactly the type of question which is best solved through facebook's new graph search. Facebook Graph Search allows you to use your knowledge of friends taste and expertise to answer questions of opinion. Let me explain:

Let me google that for you - NOT

Normally my response to a general knowledge question is LMGTFY, so I typed "best hotel in tokyo" and got 81.3M results, 3 sponsored results including Expedia, Agoda and the Intercontinental and the top organic result was The 26 Best Luxury Hotels in Tokyo : Five Star Alliance. No offence to 5 Star Alliance, they are probably great guys, but how do I know that this article result is actually the best source and not just the best search engine optimiser.  

The reality is I've started to distrust web search when it comes to opinion, I seek out sources I trust

Let me ask my network

My second instinct is to ask my social network so I posted the question

Where is the best place to stay in Tokyo?


In 5 minutes, my friend responded with a hotel which was not only awesome, but close to our shared office location, the only reason he knew this is because he is related to me in the social graph.

The trouble here is I have to interrupt his and all my other friends, suddenly my wife is wondering why I have chosen to prolong an already long trip in Asia.

My graph is a little hyperactive, not all of us have friends and family who check facebook constantly for updates or have the social capital to prompt a response.

Enter Social Forensics and Facebook Graph Search 

You see, I didn't know the answer but I knew somebody who did, all I had to do was look at my friend Phil's facebook page to see he checked in to a hotel when he was there.

With Facebook Graph search it would have been even easier places friends checked in near Salesforce Japan or Hotels liked by friends in Tokyo.

The opportunity for brands is to build customers into advocates so this type of search drives more business, is the new earned media. As to how paid social will influence this, that will be fun to see.

#social for the #win