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Outsmarting Social Media: Profiting in the Age of Friendship Marketing by Evan Bailyn

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4. Real-Time Search and the Culture of Status Updates

If you told a person living in the year 2001 that, within a decade, there would be trillions of one-line updates about what people are doing at a given moment, he would probably ask, “Why?” And if you challenged this same person to come up with a use for all that information, he’d likely stumble. It is counterintuitive to think that people’s random thoughts matter much. But the Internet works in funny ways. It ended up proving that, if you get enough random thoughts and make them searchable, you can discover patterns among the public that shine light on human behavior.

From a marketing perspective, real-time search, the interface through which we sort through this mountain of information using ...

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