Have you asked Google a question recently? Wonder what the best inkjet printer is? Here’s the answer.
It used to be that Google was a search engine. It – justifiably – turned into a powerful ad-serving company, biting off more and more of it’s organic page one real-estate in favour of paid listings. Recently, it’s more or less given up the mission of structuring the world’s information for easy access. The vision has dissolved into something far less generous and lucratively altruistic. Google is now trying its very best to provide answers directly, source website be damned.
Oh, sure, the link to the source website is right there, at the bottom of the fast-food answer (and, to be honest, that search result page format is probably better for most searches we do) and foolish intellectuals who really insist on reading more than a few words will find some links to other websites in between the pre-digested answer and the ads. The implications for my job, as a marketer are obviously profound and SEO has all but vanished from my recommendations to clients. What used to be a tall order (be visible on page 1 or 2) has now become utterly impossible for most businesses (be number 1, or don’t play the game). Thankfully, there are far more interesting alternatives, it’s no biggy. But for the masses, which the media and politics have done all they could to turn into sheep, this is one step further towards slavery.
Think that’s bad? The guys at Google pale compared to Facebook.
So, Facebook doesn’t want to turn the Internet into a swamp for idiots. Facebook wants to be the Internet. Not that they’re the only ones. They’re just the only ones with a chance. Between Facebook and daughter Snapchat, this company now powers a huge chunk of our every day lives (well, not mine) and provides a huge chunk of the information that goes into our brains. Mark Z is probably the most influent man on the planet right now. Nice ! Reassuring, too.
Not that it matters, though. Because, let’s face it, others are so hell bent on actually breaking the Internet.
The harmony and balance of human evolution dictates that there be a huge variety of attitudes, so how could we be angry at hackers? For every person busting her arse to making someone else’s life better, there’s another, in almost equal proportion that’s dedicating his time to making it shit-awful. It’s all part of the larger plan, you see. No, hackers aren’t really the issue. For instance, China, among others, appears to be routinely launching massive attacks on DNS servers to test the resilience of installations and be able to bring the whole caboodle down to cut off communications in the event of a war. Sweet.
Still, that still isn’t really the problem. People deliberately trying to break things always fade away and something better always comes of it. Where poo rots, beautiful plants grow.
No, I’m more concerned with the little things. The insidious erosion no one notices and eventually adds up to a mudslide of unhappiness.
A few days ago, with Christmas heading rapidly towards me, I tried to buy stuff.
Remember the simplicity, sense of freedom, easy flow that came with buying online? Not any more. Time yourself next time you buy from a new site. It takes ages. Registration is worse than for a national security event. It’s not like that everywhere, but it’s gaining. Pain in the butt / ass / arse / choose your flavour. So while the Internet may survive commoditisation, privatisation and medieval nationalism, it won’t be fun anymore. Helldwellers of the future might as well take it down right now.
Could be brilliant. The system’s broken. Has been for a long time. Let’s make something new.
Last year, just when the abuses of marketing automation stopped making me puke (exhaustion, not acceptance), the age of the bot was ushered in. Not pretty Miss December bott (butt, in Trumpland), more like Siri ‘bot. Now, the elite marketing world is ablaze with bot to bot communications optimization ideas. Hurray. In the photo world, we have similar crap to worry about.
So, that information-sharing system, that thing we called the Internet, is now as dead as the hippies.
Some people providing value online are lifting carpets to find bugs to feed their families. Good photo blogs are losing traffic faster than the political world is loosing its sense of honour. Many have had to let collaborators go. Some will be shutting down altogether. But those that relay brand press releases are OK, thank you very much. Those that best optimise “The Rule of thirds way to great composition” for Google will reap the rewards of their service to humanity. Undertsanding the medium now trumps (I’ll be using that word a lot) creating good content.
I shouldn’t make fun. Everybody has to make a living, and it doesn’t have to be pretty. Plus this doesn’t affect us, here at DS, as we’ve never made money from the blog (heck, it’s been a cash sink if you ask my wife 😉 )
It is kind if sad, but every cloud has its silver lining. Because, yeah, when the system goes to the worms, we get to think something up from scratch. And the new entrepreneurs thinking about Vnext are already putting their ears on the railway lines to listen to the chatter.
This is our chance to chatter.
We’re being consulted this very minute. Every word we read, every site we visit, every second we browse is being analysed to understand what will make most money tomorrow.
That data will continue to power the optimisation of Internet Vcurrent.x to its very death at the hands of the industry leaders suffering from innovator’s dilemma. It will also help others think in and of a completely different way. A better way. That’s how evolution works. Viruses create mutations, kill off some of stock and create new variety. Not that evolution will have it’s say in the world’s most powerful creationist nation, but you get my drift.
Silicon Valley has grey hair, like me. It’s getting congested and unimaginative (unlike me, I hope). It’s becoming a system. Resurrection of the fun inter webs will probably come from elsewhere. All those hackers making us cringe, maybe they’ll get a shot at expressing their talent and ideas positively in a way that’s both rewarding to them and beneficial to others. That would be sooo interesting! Or maybe something else altogether. Whatever the origin, the new thing will be different and you have your say in what you read, comment, share, react to, love, hate, love to hate, hate to love, emotilovetohate, emotifeelhappyabout … You owe it to yourself, to content creators throughout the universe and to your kids to think hard about this.
What will it be for you?
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