To search or to ask: The routing of information needs between traditional search engines and social networks

Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, Brent Hecht, Meredith Ringel Morris, Jaime Teevan, Darren Gergle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

In status message question asking (SMQA), members of social networking sites make use of status messages to express information needs to friends and contacts. We present findings from a laboratory study that examined 82 participants' SMQA behaviors in the broader context of online information seeking. When given the option of using a search engine and/or a social network, participants leveraged SMQA for 20% of their information needs, most often posing a question to their network in addition to issuing a query. We show the important roles played by the specificity of the information need and the perceived audience of a given network on routing decisions. We then demonstrate that routing decisions have varied effects on participants' satisfaction, information value, and trust of outcomes. In addition to highlighting the complementary advantages and disadvantages of search and SMQA, our findings suggest that search engines can better address a meaningful portion of people's information needs by integrating SMQA capabilities into their systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCSCW 2014 - Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages16-27
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781450325400
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Event17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, CSCW 2014 - Baltimore, MD, United States
Duration: Feb 15 2014Feb 19 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW

Other

Other17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, CSCW 2014
CountryUnited States
CityBaltimore, MD
Period2/15/142/19/14

Keywords

  • Information seeking
  • Social media question asking
  • Social networks
  • Social search
  • Web search

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