What the hell is the social graph?

February 8, 2012

Whilst attending Travel Technology Europe 2012 yesterday I sat in a Tnooz session: “What the hell is the social graph?” - great panel and discussion. There’s always Wikipedia for answers, but Matt Rhodes created a great visual representation of what the social graph is by getting the other panel members to stand up and link arms. Assisted by 2 audience members, one representing a pub and the other a pet dog (I kid you not), they became connected on the ‘world’s smallest island’. This brilliantly illustrated the relationships/ networks this small group created. Ok, so relationships like this are nothing new in the offline world. But online where Facebook, Google, TripAdvisor et al connect people, events and experiences, this offers something else: data that can be interpreted.

 

Amazon is already leveraging these insights to show users the next 5 friends’ birthdays with gift ideas. So can understanding these relationship offer the travel industry an exciting opportunity? Notwithstanding the concerns about privacy, who owns the data and does each social graph have every connection? The answer appears to be ‘yes’. I would say this comes with a health warning that people’s social activity online often documents what they have done; personalising using past experiences shouldn’t exclude the possibility of new ones.

 

Mike Naylor

Business Development Director, Datalex