Nerds in the aftermath of Sandy sprang into action: We’ve seen some innovative technology solutions address many aspects of the fallout of the storm. It got me poking around at what’s working and what isn’t, and starting to look at communications solutions we can start to put in place before the next storm, disaster, revolution or what-have-you.
The back story: Long ago, when Rick Santorum was campaigning and working on several extremely socially conservative agendas in Pennsylvania, advice columnist Dan Savage launched a (pretty fun) campaign to change the search results for Santorum’s name. Go over to Spreading Santorum for the full story, but for a long time, that was the #1 result when you searched for Santorum.
Now that Santorum is a candidate, the site has gotten more attention again, but it’s fallen in the ranking of search results. Already people are claiming that Santorum successfully pressured Google to change its results and drop the Spreading site. I doubt this is true for a variety of reasons.
1. Google may cave to political pressure in other countries (albeit with some transparency about why, how and how it can be tracked), but I do have a really hard time believing that they’d do something like this for a US candidate for president. It would be a PR nightmare, and they know it.
2. There’s a lot more linkage to Santorum’s own candidacy site, his Wikipedia page and other more official sites than ever before. This is going to affect everyone’s search results to some degree, in part because of the timing. I’m sure a lot of the links to Spreading Santorum are older, and the links to the official pages are newer. This changes search results to reflect the current state of the web as it grows/evolves.
3. Finally, there’s the issue that all of our search results are individualized, based on our prior search history, our social connections in places like Google+, and much more. If I google “Deanna,” I’m the 3rd most popular Deanna in the world. If someone else who doesn’t know me, who doesn’t have a connection to me, googles “Deanna,” they might not see me. (Before personalized search results, I was at least in the top ten, haha.) So in this case, when I google “Santorum,” it’s still result #4 for me. That might not be true for others.
Just another day clarifying before we totally run down the rabbit hole of technology conspiracies. :-)
I’m concerned about some initial sociologial (versus technological) trends I’m seeing on Google+. Admittedly, I haven’t played around with it too much — I still like Twitter and Facebook, since people with whom I have high-value relationships participate heavily there. Google+ is more a novelty (and a necessity for me to figure out for my clients). And frankly, while I know lots of people love the Circles — for the non-Google+-er, those are groups in which you have to put people — I’m overwhelmed by having to choose where I want to put every single person in whom I have some semblence of interest. The implications of Circles could be a whole ‘nother post, so I’ll leave it at that.
What I’ve found troublesome so far is that the atmosphere/culture Google+ has far less “personality” than the other services do. I don’t see as much intimate content there (yet?) as I do other services. And the intimate content that is posted there doesn’t seem to resonate as much with readers. Read more →
There’s a new social networking service in town. It’s called Google+/Google Plus. The beta isn’t fully open to the public yet.
There’s a lot of nerdy/media-y navel-gazing going on there right now.
There will be advantages to businesses, political organizations and non-profits down the road.
There are some features “stolen” from other social networks; others are brand new. Users will like some things and hate others.