Categories
Communication

This is how to beat Google on search: the way Google+ is beating Facebook!

Like anyone serious about business, I spend time trying to figure out how Google’s search algorythm works.  Because if you are serious about business you care about communication.   And if you care about communication you have to care about the way most of the world now discovers information.

Yesterday I was surprised to notice that my main computer produced absolutely no Greek website results for “champions league” or “Europa league”.   Not even on the twentieth results page!   Both of my reference machines (different setups, not logged in to a Google account, not using Google Chrome) had their first page full of Greek results.   Obviously Google has been tracking the fact that I am not interested in football.   But no matter how hard I search, there is nowhere in my Google customization, preferences or other location where I can untick a box to change this.

At the same time I have been admiring Google+ .   You are much more in control of the experience than Facebook.   It is much, much less prone to scams, false profiles and spam of all sorts.   For anyone who has lived in the uncertain world of trying to do Facebook marketing over the past years it is a breath of fresh air.

And that is exactly how Bing, Yahoo or any other search engine can overtake Google.   Bear open your secret sauce.   Show us the workings of your algorythms and let us tweak them.   Let me, the search users, decide what I want to attach weight to.   We could even swap tweaks, like my “don’t care about football but like outdoor stuff and sport in general” attitude.    It would be something you nurture through time, like a farm on Farmville; your searches and clicks create your own unique version of the search algorythm, your own “magic soup”.   Many users would love it.   At least those who care about what they see, the discerning users who are probably more interesting for advertisers too in the long term.

You can’t beat Google any other way, and we all know how hard you tried…

Categories
Communication

Measuring digital influence: the silly and the science

“The most influential people online” says the tagline for WebIt, an upcoming “Digital and IT event” (vague terms as nobody is sure anymore!)   The idea isn’t new; a similar scheme had played out with the Influence Project some time ago.   These sort of efforts are of course plagued with massive methodological problems.

Obviously anybody that starts first has a great advantage, particularly in countries where the online influencers are fewer and it just takes one mention to tell everyone.   Furthermore, social media professionals tend to check each other out all the time, so whichever one of these happens to get their link out first gets everyone else under “their” pyramid.

An added problem is the incentive.   Some people may consider a free flight to Bulgaria a bonus, others a punishment.   In any case many top influencers will not bother.   So we are back to square one, possibly with a few new ideas about who is around in each country, looking for more reliable ways to measure influence.   Of course, this is a job for professionals, like Qualia who monitor all media and even do sentiment analysis on it.   They have also started doing what is more interesting and easy to understand, which is to look at specific topics or incidents.  (Check them out in the “blog” section of their website.)

Influence is a complicated matter but taking the more specific approach is probably closer to the “true” nature of things.   Oh, and don’t forget to click here if you want to measure your influence the cheap and cheerful way… ; )

Categories
Communication Technology

Why Google wants to stop me blogging

If you are posting original content on Facebook or Twitter, you’re stupid.  No polite way to put it.   You’re an idiot.   Every day I see great thoughts, photos and other inspiring original content posted on Facebook and it makes me cringe.   It is like cooking an interesting organic and original meal and then giving it away to McDonald’s to sell for you.   It is also inexcusable because there are so many easy ways around it.

When blogging started it was just that.   Blogging.   Horrible aesthetics for web logs= very rough diary like things.   But now you have Tumblr and all sorts of prettier choices.   You can put your stuff in your website and then get it to automatically update Facebook, Twitter or almost anything else you want.   But you control the environment in which your content lives and breathes.   You organise it as you want it presented, not as Facebook deems best in its latest incarnation.

Yeah, even those witty one liners you are posting on Twitter.   Post them in your world and then think where you are distributing them.

There is however a larger picture on this issue.   And that is that even Google is keen to stop you blogging.   The demise of the blogger.com platform is intentional.   Because if you are controlling a “castle” of a blog with all your information and all it’s unique traffic, they can’t make money out of it as easily.   You might even start to want to sell banners yourself!  Facebook and Google+ or Twitter are in effect using you as slave journalists and content producers.   They make the interface and the media chanel, you provide the content.   Sure, loads of it is rubbish, but even rubbish provides really useful data about how you, and your friends, think.   What they like, what they shop, where they go.

Blogger isn’t one of Google’s failures.   It was useful when it started and now it is purposely being winded down.   They don’t completely cancel the service as it provides useful information.   And WordPress would simply be too powerful if left unchecked.    But now they want most of you to start working for them for free on Google+…

 

Categories
Technology

How to know when not to buy the latest gadget

It’s almost a decade since I bought my first DSLR.   A Canon 10D.   “Barely” 6.3 megapixel resolution, most smartphones I would consider buying these days have more than that.   But it used all my EF lenses and has served me well.   Too well in fact.

For all of us in technology, the words “early adopters” or “gadget fans” imply the opposite of zombies.   Fast moving, fickle creatures that can’t resist the smell of fresh tech flesh.   Can’t be seen with a device whose specs are outdated.   So how has this old camera survived so long?   And, more to the point, how have I resisted buying a new one for so many years?   Especially during visits to Photokina and other photo tech wizardry shows?

If you check out the rate with which I put pictures up on various blogs, flickr or panoramio you would say I am a pretty heavy user of the device.   In fact these are a small proportion of my camera clicking activity.   The DSLR came just in time for my first child, and now that I am up to three, there are more than twenty thousand pictures of them.   Then there is work photography.     Most marketing departments are too stingey to pay for a good photographer and too boring to take a good picture so I often try to fill the gap.   I have enjoyed taking it along to consulting projects and shooting anything from jewellery to coffee.

New DSLRs have tried to entice me.   Almost immediately after the 10D came smaller and lighter cameras.   But not that much smaller or lighter to make it worth changing.   Resolution increased but most end up being seen on computers anyway.   Even photos of mine which have been used commercially in ads by Saab and the like have never suffered from lack of resolution, even in print ads.  Higher sensitivity for shooting in low light situations enticed me.   High Definition video makes sense so you don’t need to carry a second device for that.  Included time lapse features would be useful.   The tables are turning…

Alex vs photo marketing crowd = 1-0 I would say!