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We join spokes together in a wheel, but it is the emptiness of the center hole that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.
Bill Gates, 2004
(Being a gazillionaire doesn’t mean you can predict the future.)
Tumblr has introduced a new way to promote posts: pinning it on other people’s dashboard, which means it will show up at the top of every page in your follower’s dashboards.
Hmm. Sounds like spam.
As Whitneymcn says:
This doesn’t feel like a good idea.
Still, it’s worth five bucks to try it out. Which is to say that I’m paying $5 to have this post stuck on your dashboard, not mine, for the several seconds it takes to un-pin it.
I’ve been plenty wrong about stuff like this over the years, but this doesn’t feel like a good idea.
It would be better if a post became pinned because a lot of people liked it, or was based on some other emergent property, not just payola. I bet ‘pinola’ will change pretty quickly to something else.
Michael Cote from Climate Adaptation Tumblr (http://climateadaptation.tumblr.com/) asked a question the other day about whether we were getting spam on Tumblr.
I am certainly getting followed by,posts liked by, and re-blogged by other Tumblr sites that are advertising farms or other types of spam such as SEO optimisation sites.
This devalues my experience of Tumblr and also getting a handle on and interacting with the community of people that follow and comment on my posts.
I think that this is something the Tumblr community should do something about and I propose the following:
Every day each of us should commit to checking at least 5 likes or re-blogs or follows and blocking and reporting those that are obviously spam.
For those who do not know how to do this you can put your cursor on a like or a re-blog and the option to block comes up. When you click on it then you are asked whether you want to block that person. If you say yes then the option comes up on the bottom of the screen to report them for spam or harassment (there may be other methods for mobile applications)
If you think that this is a good idea then please re-blog the post rather than just liking it because that will get it out to the community.
What do you say?
I don’t think we can characterize this as spam, which is unwanted information being pushed to us. It’s not bac’n, either, since bac’n is defined as spam that we want to see. Maybe we should call it Fat Back, since they are riding on our backs, and trying to parasitically entrap folks to click through on their notes or reblogs?
As it becomes harder and harder for Google to avoid the spam sites, search becomes a less helpful way to find answers. Paul Kedrosky says that curation is the answer, and always has been.
Paul Kedrosky, Curation is the New Search is the New Curation
Any algorithm can be gamed; it’s only a matter of time. The Google algorithm is now well and thoroughly gamed, as I first wrote about late last year, and as now become an entire genre of web writing, and that has grown to include my friend Vivek Wadhwa’s smart piece on TechCrunch not long ago. Google has, they argue, lost its mojo — which is true, but it’s more interesting and complicated than that.
What has happened is that Google’s ranking algorithm, like any trading algorithm, has lost its alpha. It no longer has lists to draw and, on its own, it no longer generates the same outperformance — in part because it is, for practical purposes, reverse-engineered, well-understood and operating in an adaptive content landscape. Search results in many categories are now honey pots embedded in ruined landscapes — traps for the unwary. It has turned search back into something like it was in the dying days of first-generation algorithmic search, like Excite and Altavista: results so polluted by spam that you often started looking at results only on the second or third page — the first page was a smoking hulk of algo-optimized awfulness.
There are two things that can happen now. (Okay, three. We could stop search, which won’t happen.). We could get better algorithms, which is happening to some degree, with search engines like Blekko and others. Or, we could head back to curation, which is what I see happening, and watch new algos emerge on top of that next-gen curation again. Think of Twitter as a new stab at curation, but there are plenty of other examples.
Yes, that sounds mad. If we couldn’t index 100,000 websites in 1996 by hand, how do we propose to do 234-million by hand today?
The answer, of course, is that we won’t — do them all by hand, that is. Instead, the re-rise of curation is partly about crowd curation — not one people, but lots of people, whether consciously (lists, etc.) or unconsciously (tweets, etc) — and partly about hand curation (JetSetter, etc.). We are going to increasingly see nichey services that sell curation as a primary feature, with the primary advantage of being mostly unsullied by content farms, SEO spam, and nonsensical Q&A sites intended to create low-rent versions of Borges’ Library of Babylon. The result will be a subset of curated sites that will re-seed a new generation of algorithmic search sites, and the cycle will continue, over and over.
In short, curation is the new search. It’s also the old search. And it’s happening again, and again.
I take a different view, which is that meaning is the new search:
10 Minute Sprint From 140 Characters Conference: Social Business
Abundance economics means that we won’t rely on search: search is based on scarcity.
Imagine that all critical information is available, publicly, and the most important breaking news is a few seconds (at most) away. In this world the problem won’t be finding what you want, but minimizing the torrent so that you have a small number of things to look at.
This is as true inside of a 1000 person company as in the open web.
Increasingly, we will switch to a social connection mode to filter and find for us. Our networks will become engines of meaning, as Bruce Sterling said.
Everything we want to find has been found, and will find us through our social connections. Like head colds and happiness.
We will find everything through social relationships: what washing machine to buy, or the best Thai restaurant in Beacon NY, or the company that makes the horizontal corduroys. people that care about these issues, and to who we matter, will share meaning with us: they have beliefs that they can justify, also called knowledge.
Google is only the echo of our linking behavior, a second-order derivative of our combined gestures. But generally, we would be happier with fewer results from trusted sources, and the rise of social tools makes that almost as fast as Google search.
Google must plan to adapt to the social revolution or fall into the spam darkness.