Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Why 'Right Now' Is A Big Thing - 5 Types Of Users Who Care

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 15, 2009

[This is a guest post by Todd Hogan founder of Surchur, which specializes in real-time search. Please see http://blog.surchur.com/. If you'd like to offer a guest post please contact tom(at)siliconvalleywatcher.com.]

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By Todd Hogan

surchur_logo.gifThis past week you've seen the mighty Google show its interest in the upstart Twitter. Now, whether those discussions really were as serious as many at first believed, the takeaway is the same: what is happening "right now" is becoming increasingly important to many internet users. One important trend growing from this is the need to search through all of the "right now" content that is being generated every moment and make it accessible. Our team at surchur.com is one group trying to make that happen.

But who cares about what's happening "right now?" Here are 5 profiles of users that are very interested in real time search:

The fan club - you are a HUGE fan, LOL, of XXXXXX (insert rock band, NBA star, rising senator etc here) and just can't get enough of them. Someone pans them online and you're like w/e, they launch their most recent album and its GTG - you're off to iTunes, you get texted by your BFF when they are seen with a new flame and OMG NW! Real time search is the way you are the texter not the textee. Being in the know matters and you want the 411 before anyone else.

The curiosity cat - you like to visit Google Trends. You can probably do a pretty good job of Alex Trebek saying "Answer - Daily Double." Real time search is for you a way to understand why something is popular. That weird acronym that was just mentioned on CNN needs a follow up search - you don't know what in the world they were talking about. You use real time search as an ongoing discovery tool that beats the evening news for novelty by a mile.

The opportunistic publisher - you are a content writer online and you constantly need new ideas, new keywords, and you want to capitalize on trends as they happen. The web is a big Mad Lib and the coolest story comes from she who has the 'voice of the moment.' Real time search is to you what using the word "gnarly" first was on the playground back when we were in 4th grade - you are the channel for hip.

The individual ego searcher - we've all been there, "What does 'googling' me bring up?" Well with the advent of massive amounts of immediacy on venues like twitter, the blogosphere, flickr, social tagging sites, YouTube and more, you, the ego searcher, are yearning to see how you're being spoken of at this moment. You often care more about bragging rights, real or imagined, than real information. Real time search matters to you as an extension of your identity - "who I am on the web is evolving - I want to watch it."

The online brand manager - the corporate counterpart to the ego searcher, the brand manager cares about monitoring their brand and keeping it healthy online. They use real time search as a tool for finding bad PR to squelch or minimize, perhaps responding to blog comments about them on a NY Times article. They jump on board quickly when a great review of their product or service enters appears online, pointing to it with their blog or tweeting about it themselves. They may use more aggressive monitoring tools like Radian6 to keep tight tabs on the minutiae of their business with tailored filters on their business and their competitors.

Whether you agree with these mocked up profiles, one thing is certain, we'll continue to see advances in the way real time information is consumed. Urgency is driving a lot of the trends we're seeing emerge on the web and at surchur we believe there is an incredible amount of innovation that will continue to come from services that enable the "right now."

Todd Hogan is founder of surchur.com and can definitely mimic a good "Answer- Daily Double"

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