A Comparison of Information Seeking Using Search Engines and Social Networks


  • Meredith Morris Microsoft Research
  • Jaime Teevan Microsoft Research
  • Katrina Panovich Massachusetts Institute of Technology


social search, web search, collaborative search, question answering


The Web has become an important information repository; often it is the first source a person turns to with an informa-tion need. One common way to search the Web is with a search engine. However, it is not always easy for people to find what they are looking for with keyword search, and at times the desired information may not be readily available online. An alternative, facilitated by the rise of social media, is to pose a question to one‟s online social network. In this paper, we explore the pros and cons of using a social net-working tool to fill an information need, as compared with a search engine. We describe a study in which 12 participants searched the Web while simultaneously posing a question on the same topic to their social network, and we compare the results they found by each method.




How to Cite

Morris, M., Teevan, J., & Panovich, K. (2010). A Comparison of Information Seeking Using Search Engines and Social Networks. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 4(1), 291-294. Retrieved from https://ojs.aaai.org/index.php/ICWSM/article/view/14069