After trying and failing to locate a trusted plumber, electrician and handyman via yellow pages and other directory services, I recently came across GigPark. Its promise to leverage my social network to become the easiest way to “discover the trusted local businesses your friends use” seemed like manna from heaven. I rushed to GigPark, registered immediately and linked it to my Facebook and Twitter accounts.
But when I asked GigPark to identify suitable service providers trusted by my friends, it sadly drew a blank.
My initial reaction was, well, GigPark is probably a new service and it should improve over time as more people sign up to it.
However, on second thoughts, I’ve begun to wonder how GigPark will ever have much relevance to me in my search for a plumber, electrician or handyman. Unlike books, music or even software development, these are hyper-local services for which recommendations – assuming they start pouring in some day – of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers located far away from me hardly count. What I need is the opinion of people living in my local neighborhood who would’ve had a chance to use these service providers. Many of my neighbors are on my private address book. Like I guess it is with most others, they’re not a part of my public ‘friend’ or ‘follower’ social graph, even if many of them are on Facebook and Twitter. This means that GigPark won’t be able to display their recommendations to me even if they sign up to GigPark and submit feedback about their favorite plumbers, electricians or handymen who’re likely to be from my neighborhood.
This suggests that there’s a strong need for some sort of “network glue” that ties together – albeit temporarily – a person’s private and public social graphs. If and when such a glue becomes available, GigPark and other similar platforms will be able to tap into it to show relevant recommendations from my neighbors for local services. On the other hand, without such a glue, the value of such platforms is limited. I’d love to hear your comments.