How to use the Facebook Graph Search feature effectively

Looking for more information about Facebook Graph Search feature? Still wondering what is Facebook graph search? Are you a regular Facebook user and want to know useful tips for using Facebook graph search tool? If yes, then read this article and get all your queries about graph search feature of Facebook answered here.

Facebook is one of the most popular social networking websites across the world. People have been using this website to stay connected with friends, family and colleagues. This site is used to share photos, videos, statuses, links and lots more. One can decide the level of privacy he/she wants i.e. one can make changes in Facebook settings to allow his/her updates to be shared only with known people. But with the increase in usage of Facebook, people have slowly started using Facebook to promote their skills or business. Currently, many people use the Facebook page option to promote their business (brand, product), website or any special skills (photography, art). Facebook has a huge user database (more than 650 million users) and Facebook users have slowly started understanding it's reach. Many people still consider Facebook as a closed social network site with personal space. But, the real fact is that socializing can never be private and personal. One has to get used to some public views on his/her social networking space.

Mark Zuckerberg has scored a masterstroke by launching the Facebook Graph Search feature on Facebook. Facebook graph search allows enhanced search on Facebook on the basis of various criteria that any Facebook user has in his/her profile. In short, graph search is the search engine restricted to Facebook. But, one can be assured that majority of the people keep their Facebook profile updated more often than anything else. This feature is still in it's initial stage and hasn't been launched in all countries. As per latest information, it has been made available to Facebook users in USA, UK, etc. There are several questions that come to mind with regards to Facebook graph search. Who will benefit most from the Facebook Graph Search feature? How to use Facebook graph search effectively? Is Facebook graph search useful to all Facebook users? Can Facebook graph search feature allow Facebook to compete with professional networking sites like LinkedIn?

In this article, we shall try to find answers to most of these questions and some more.

Use of Facebook Graph Search feature by people with common interests

Facebook is an open social networking site and one can use the various features provided in different ways to fulfill their needs. With the availability of graph search feature, Facebook users can get useful search results for their specific requirements or queries. One can search for people on Facebook with common interests like music, movies, blogs, photography, etc. The "Like" option available on Facebook is used by most of us to like some pages, songs, music albums, celebrities or movies. Now, the graph search tool allows Facebook users to search for people who like (or are interested in) the same/similar thing. An example of a enhanced search query for such a search will be "People learning guitar in Mumbai". Such a search query is very very easy to find and will yield useful results. So, one can approach different people who are learning guitar in their area to find the best guitar tutor for him/her. Similarly, one can find people in their areas who like photography and can form a photography club who can travel together and enhance their photography knowledge. Even people who like particular singers or music artists can join hands on Facebook and share their collection.

Using Facebook Graph Search feature for students

The graph search feature will prove useful for students willing to take admission in particular college/university within India or abroad. Such students can easily find ex-students or current students of such colleges and universities by searching "People studying in IIM Ahmadabad" or "Students who attended IIM Ahmadabad". The Facebook graph search enables an advanced search with respect to students attending such colleges during a particular period i.e. range search is made easy with graph search tool. For example, one can even get useful results for a search query like "Students who attended IIM Ahmadabad between 2009 and 2012".

The search queries for Facebook Graph Search tool can be written by absolute novices who can frame general English sentences. It can prove extremely useful for students traveling abroad to foreign countries for studies because they can easily find Indians in foreign countries going to same institutes using the Facebook graph search tool. Thus, such students can become friends with them and get huge amount of help to adjust easily in a foreign land.

Using Facebook graph search tool for frequent travelers

A unique ability of the graph search feature is to search even from the data resulting from the use of "check-in" feature of Facebook. There are many people who use this check-in feature of Facebook from their smartphones or tablets while traveling. Some people check-in to particular restaurants, hotels, workshops, etc. Now, this can be used by someone to get review of a particular hotel in another city or country where he/she is planning to go. One can simply search for people who checked in at that hotel. Similarly, one can also get useful traveling tips on various places in India and abroad from people who have checked into hotels in those places.

Using Facebook Graph Search tool for recruiters and coursers

Facebook's graph search feature will prove most beneficial to recruiters and coursers. Recruitment is an ongoing process in several companies in India. There are a huge number of recruiters and coursers out there relying on LinkedIn and other such professional networking sites to get good candidate profiles for relative job requirements. The disadvantage with LinkedIn is that the search will not be an extensive one for members who have not paid for premium membership. So, basically, one has to invest some money to search the entire LinkedIn network of users. Another point to note is that LinkedIn has a very small network as compared to Facebook.

A basic job search query will yield more results in Facebook than in LinkedIn. The only disadvantage with Facebook is that not every potential candidate will like being contacted on their personal social networking space. This is where the coursers will come into picture. The coursers can contact candidates who meet the job requirements of their agency or company. The coursers generally seek the candidate's feedback on whether they are looking out for any jobs or whether they will be interested in particular job requirements in future. So, using the Facebook graph search tool effectively, coursers can establish a trial contact with various people and get lot of good options fulfilling their job requirements. Once a person shows some interest in the job requirements, the profile and contact details can be obtained and passed on to the recruitment team by the coursers. The recruitment team can then talk in detail with such candidates and let them know of the exact requirement apart from carrying out a background check of the candidate's profile. Some example search queries for coursers and recruiters would be "SAP FICO Consultants in Mumbai", "Android developers working in IBM Pune" and "Business Analysts working in Merill Lynch Mumbai".

Recruiters and coursers can carry out their search very easily on the basis of fields like Company, Title, Designation, City, Groups, Education, etc. As seen above, the Facebook graph search tool will help recruiters and coursers to search a database of above 650 million users in Facebook without having to pay a single penny. Also, there are more chances of getting updated information on Facebook than on other sites whose database is not this big. So, this graph search tool will prove to be a boon in the recruiting area. But, coursers and recruiters have to be extremely patient and careful while contacting people via Facebook as it is not a professional networking site. They should only aim for generating good leads via this graph search feature.

Advantages and disadvantages of Facebook Graph Search feature

  • Ability to search an extensive database of more than 650 million people.

  • Easy search queries that can be written by novices.

  • Ability to search for people within different groups even if the user is not part of that group.

  • Ability to search for a time-bound interval like "Students attending certain college between 2009 and 2012".

  • Ability to search easily using some basic information like company, education, groups, designation, etc. as well as some complex information like "Check-in" and "Like".

  • Highly beneficial for students, people with similar interests/hobbies, travelers and recruiters/coursers.

  • Invasion of personal space of Facebook users. This may make some people hesitant to share even basic information on their Facebook profile.

Will Facebook graph search feature prove to be successful?

Based on the above analysis, there are plenty of pros in favor of Facebook's graph search feature and very less cons against it. So, it should prove to be a hit with Facebook users as more and more people start using it. But, since these are early days, it is difficult to come out with a sure-shot prediction. If used wisely and properly, Facebook's graph search tool will help Facebook compete with LinkedIn in the professional networking space as well. This feature of Facebook will put it one step ahead of Google+ and other networking sites. Mark Zuckerberg has pulled off a winner and the future of Facebook looks brighter than before. I am eagerly waiting for this feature to be available for Indian Facebook users.

Read Facebook Messenger for Android & iOS introduces voice calling feature in India

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