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Social Factors - the End of Most Intelligent Content On The Web
coachm




msg:4316504
 8:47 pm on May 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I see that Google is now using social signals in their SERPS, and I'm quite stunned, in part as a business and also as a search consumer.

This is the single most evil thing I've seen in terms of its impact, if in fact social signals (in essence a measure of POPULARITY, not quality) play anything but a minor role in SERPS.

As social factors increase in importance, the point of creating original, thought leading, anything OTHER than simple mass content is removed.

The reality is that social media is a popular medium focuses on people (not a bad thing in itself), rather than content. The vast majority of the best and brightest in terms of subject matter experts in many niches, simply are NOT spending time pushing their ideas on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIN. They, in fact, we if I be a bit presumptuous, have better things to do with our time. Nothing wrong with social but if popularity (number of tweeted links/likes) is a deciding factor in ranking, those creating the best content in terms of "thought value" simply won't show up.

Apart from the fact that I've spend 15 years creating original content (I mean original, not some sad recast of what everyone else is saying), in print -- articles and books, and online (free, mind you), and that may now be worthless to me, it means that in my role of "content curation" (ok, finding and linking to the best content) is done.

There is now very little incentive to publish new ideas and thoughts to move fields forward, not only because it's hard to monetize, but because no one will see it because it won't have "buzz".

I work a lot with government, and have long wanted to open up a website on the topic, and have grabbed a few domains I might want to use. Now, there's no point.

If you look at social media, for example, what you will find is loads of stuff including the key word government from upset citizens, the political right, and so on....essentially contentless or worthless if one's interest is helping people understand government.

Project canned.

Finding the best content in niches from true authorities (scientists, academics, book authors that don't get buzz) has become harder and harder, and now the curation role is cooked.

And the kicker is, not only is content not king, replaced by "popularity", but the spamming of the SERPS and the pollution of an already polluted social media environment can begin aforce.

It's a trivial technical exercise to tweet every second on something, to vary the tweets, in order to boost SERPS. I have tools to do that, and they are openly available. I don't use them except to post occasional automated tweets for things I think are valuable and always spaced far apart.

Why shouldn't I just go completely black hat and do that?

If that's what it takes to be found, I won't do it, and not only that but there would not be any point in using the Internet anymore, EXCEPT to socialize.

I'm seriously stunned here. I hope I've got this wrong, but not only has Google crushed businesses like mine that trade in ideas and content, it has the potential to significantly damage the society at large by LIMITING (unintentionally) the spread of the very information that runs the economic engines of this planet.

I'm thinking that of course, social indicators will be only a part of determining SERP's, so the effect hopefully isn't as absolute as it could be.

Finally, perhaps this social factoring explains why my sales have gone to zero, my adsense income has disappeared, and what I worked to build is now almost useless to me, to those in my niches, and to the larger world.

Someone, tell me I've got this all wrong.

 

MrFewkes




msg:4323133
 7:43 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Im getting my first twitterbot this week.

I am going to spam my sites to death - because they are worth it :)

rlange




msg:4323157
 8:56 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Leosghost wrote:
Totally on topic ..( and not elitism ..unless you think we should all pretend that stupid/lazy is beautiful ) ....my comment fits perfectly with the OP's topic ..( which apparently you have not read )..unlike your personal attack..

Personal attacks are directed at a specific person. There was no such target in my post.

Healthy people didn't stop walking when the wheel was invented..only the dumb ones...

I suspect the wheel was not initially intended to improve personal transportation. It was likely invented as a means to more easily move large objects greater distances with fewer people.

the rest only used wheeled transport when the distances were too great for healthy walking to get them there.

How often do you walk to the grocery store? How often does anyone here complaining about the use of calculators walk to the grocery store?

The dumb ones nowadays have to pay for people to help them to exercise and avoid coronaries and associated illnesses due to bad diet and going everywhere even a few hundred yards with motorised wheeled transport

Going back to the calculator, I somehow doubt that it was invented by someone too stupid to do math in their head, or even intended for those too stupid to do basic math in their head. It was a technological advancement intended to make a relatively simple task trivial for those who choose to use the tool.

If you can't see what is behind the push to social media..and consider telling the truth about it to be "elitist" ..then it is obviously working as intended.

But why even engage in this impotent wailing? You, and others, believe that this has been an issue for quite some time and I don't necessarily disagree, but what are you doing about it (other than complaining)?

--
Ryan

MrFewkes




msg:4323174
 9:30 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

I dont see what all the fuss is about - google, the public, the computers, other webmasters - not one of them cares about us lot - why should we care?

Manipulate the machine if you have found something which can work in your financial favour - if you dont - then be sure that it WILL manipulate YOU. Because its bigger than YOU (us).

:)

db01




msg:4323177
 9:50 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Its all a fashion after all, to me it looks like Elvis, Beatles, disco, Rap (someone said about Aol, then Yahoo, Altavista and then Google), who says that FB isn't another good old Yahoo chat room?.
If I want to book a hotel , buy a car, write an essay about Henry the VIII or get a cheap T shirt I'm not going to find those answers in FB....
I rather concentrate on my content and deliver to the users information about a nice pub in East Grinstead, or the best fish and chips in Margate (something that even some "usual suspects" wont give me an answer), instead of fiddling around with widgets and social content or the future of the internet. In other words be unique, there is a lot of work ahead. Finally the king of the internet will remain the Search and it looks like Google is not a fashion like others. My 2 p.

db01




msg:4323184
 9:57 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Oh and something else, this is not socialisation, this is a sad point that shows a lonely society that has lost its social values and stay stuck on a screen living a virtual social life instead of going out and live the real life with real people.

Leosghost




msg:4323190
 10:01 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Personal attacks are directed at a specific person. There was no such target in my post.

So to whom was it directed, following directly after my post, as it did :-)

As I said ..it is all obviously working as intended...your reply consists of many assumptions , suspicions, and doubts ..and questions..and even imputations ..but no facts..

As to what I'm doing about it ?

The fact so many indulge in it, ( if by "it" you mean social media ) is a source of regret to me, but I can't make people more intelligent..giving them the information is not the same as making them more intelligent ..the existence of religion proves my point.."irrefuditably"..

Dumb, gullible , wanting to be part of the group, , people have always existed and always will, face book and their ilk take advantage of that in the way that religions do and did ..

It is merely a change of "boss" , and the flavour of the bread and the names of the acts in the circuses..

Pulling aside the curtain ..merely invokes hostility, such as yours..you want to "beleive" ..fine..just keep it private..don't make it obligatory ..and don't try to influence the way society works for the non believers.

What I object too is the imposition of "social media" upon the rest of us..it is now almost obligatory in many western countries to have internet and even face book accounts, because if you wish to access the government services information which are paid for with your taxes, or to contact the customer service departments of companies from whom you have purchased..

It is now all on their websites, and nowhere else ..and increasing so all on their facebook pages..in a private walled garden..the entry price of which is giving up your privacy to a corporation whose business is selling access to your profile.

As to what I'm doing about it ?

It is not because you do not know about something that it is not happening, or does not exist..

And apart from the fact that I'm under no obligation to explain myself to you..

I also,

have no desire to dispel "the magic" for you..participation in social seems to be important to you..fine ..for you ..but for a great many of us ..and IMO for humanity as a whole , eventually , it is a self evident bad thing , just like the belief in sky fairies.."social media" is merely the first replacement invented for that in the west this millenium..but its goals and the goals of those who are pushing it are the same.

Get the maximum amount of data about the sheep, to better control the flock..and keep them distracted and unaware that it is being done..smoke and mirrors..

Reno




msg:4323212
 10:40 pm on Jun 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

this is not socialisation, this is a sad point that shows a lonely society that has lost its social values and stay stuck on a screen living a virtual social life instead of going out and live the real life with real people.

Amen to that brother!

...........................

rlange




msg:4323266
 2:35 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

db01 wrote:
Oh and something else, this is not socialisation, this is a sad point that shows a lonely society that has lost its social values and stay stuck on a screen living a virtual social life instead of going out and live the real life with real people.

How long after the invention of the telephone were people preferring that form of communication over in-person visits and how many complained? Nowadays, the telephone is considered an acceptable form of social interaction.

This is evolution.

Leosghost wrote:
So to whom was it directed, following directly after my post, as it did :-)

You'll notice that I quote the people that I directly respond to. It's a lovely feature meant to avoid confusion such as you've experienced. I even go to the extra effort to manually include the name of the user I'm quoting—a feature that exists on more user-friendly forums across the Internet, but is not currently supported here on WebmasterWorld—as a further assistance to readers.

As I said ..it is all obviously working as intended...your reply consists of many assumptions , suspicions, and doubts ..and questions..and even imputations ..but no facts..

As I've said, I tend to agree with the belief that society in general is getting dumber, but I've also re-examined that belief. We have reality TV, but the 60's had The Three Stooges. Hardly intellectual entertainment.

Just about everyone looks at the past with both rose-colored glasses and our own biases. "Today's music is crap. Music from the 80's was awesome." Actually, on the whole, it wasn't. That's not the same as saying today's music is awesome, though.

When was this happier day of intellectualism and a "smart" populace? Can anyone actually answer that?

This is my point. You believe that people are getting dumber. You accused me of having "no facts", but I've seen none from you to support your claim. You strongly disagree with the use of calculators for tests? Fine, but that's not a fact in any sense of the word; it's your opinion.

Dumb, gullible , wanting to be part of the group, , people have always existed and always will, face book and their ilk take advantage of that in the way that religions do and did ..

You're describing every social group that's ever existed.

Pulling aside the curtain ..merely invokes hostility, such as yours..you want to "beleive" ..fine..just keep it private..don't make it obligatory ..and don't try to influence the way society works for the non believers.

I have my beliefs, certainly. Your claim, and my general agreement, that society is dumbing down isn't actually supported by any evidence. If you can point me to any scientific study that concludes with confidence that society in general is getting dumber, I will be more than happy to apologize.

Until then, perhaps I'm not the only who should be keeping their beliefs private, hmm?

What I object too is the imposition of "social media" upon the rest of us..

You're acting as if mere exposure to Facebook or Twitter is going to destroy your brilliant intellect. These sites are merely subsets of the Internet, which itself has more than it's share of absolute crap. Yet here you are. You've found a niche you like and you make [part of] your living here and it hasn't destroyed you.

Why do you think you can't do the same with Facebook or Twitter without avoiding the drek?

(Also, if you're going to complain about the declining intelligence of society, it's best not to screw up something as simple as "to" vs "too".)

it is now almost obligatory in many western countries to have internet and even face book accounts, because if you wish to access the government services information which are paid for with your taxes, or to contact the customer service departments of companies from whom you have purchased..

I'm not sure you quite finished that thought...

It is now all on their websites, and nowhere else ..and increasing so all on their facebook pages..in a private walled garden..the entry price of which is giving up your privacy to a corporation whose business is selling access to your profile.

This is paranoid. You are aware that there is very little you actually "must" share on Facebook and Twitter, right? You don't even have to use your real name.

Get the maximum amount of data about the sheep, to better control the flock..and keep them distracted and unaware that it is being done..smoke and mirrors..

This has been claimed for decades. I tend not to subscribe to conspiracy theories. You're welcome to them, of course.

--
Ryan

[edited by: rlange at 3:18 am (utc) on Jun 8, 2011]

tedster




msg:4323272
 2:49 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

I follow some mathematicians and physicists on Twitter. I find it's challenging, not numbing. I appreciate the ability to interact with people who would have been completely out of my sphere before social media opened up.

lexipixel




msg:4323290
 4:56 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Back to the first few sentences of the original posts:

I see that Google is now using social signals in their SERPS, and I'm quite stunned, in part as a business and also as a search consumer.

This is the single most evil thing I've seen in terms of its impact, if in fact social signals (in essence a measure of POPULARITY, not quality) play anything but a minor role in SERPS.


The problem is we still think of Google as a search engine. It isn't. It's an advertising company that needs free, constantly updated content and needs to know who likes what and how many clicks an advertiser can expect from a given ad -- and how many conversion they can expect -- and what they might pay for those impressions, clicks and conversions --- period.

Thinking Google controls content, or letting Google dictate what you write/create, how you format it or caring how it ranks on Google is SEM and not a factor in creating "Intelligent Content".

There is tons of good, original content published everyday -- you just can't count on Google to help you find it anymore.

db01




msg:4323325
 7:31 am on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

"I see that Google is now using social signals in their SERP"
Wonder why Google, thinking tough business wise, has not eliminate yet all referrals in the SERPS about FB or twitter.
After all what revenue makes Google from the 3 first results for "Mary whatever surname" that shows 3 profiles from FB while her Google profile is at the 4th place.
Bearing in mind that FB and twitter, are competitors of Google and in the business world rules the jungle low, what will be the impact if Google wipe out the buzz about its rivals (twitter, FB etc from its organic SERPS?

agent_x




msg:4323388
 12:12 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Bearing in mind that FB and twitter, are competitors of Google and in the business world rules the jungle low, what will be the impact if Google wipe out the buzz about its rivals (twitter, FB etc from its organic SERPS?


People would stop using Google.

HuskyPup




msg:4323391
 12:15 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

People would stop using Google.


Why?

rlange




msg:4323407
 1:02 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

db01 wrote:
Bearing in mind that FB and twitter, are competitors of Google and in the business world rules the jungle low, what will be the impact if Google wipe out the buzz about its rivals (twitter, FB etc from its organic SERPS?

Likely an antitrust investigation by the E.U. and U.S.. The E.U. looked into this sort of thing [bbc.co.uk] back in November 2010. I don't know what ever came of it, or if it's still going, though.

Like Microsoft, though, I suspect the E.U. would come down harder on Google than the U.S. government would.

--
Ryan

Reno




msg:4323426
 1:48 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

For some searches the inclusion of social media seems appropriate to me ~ looking for an old girlfriend by the name of "Mary Surname" for example. The question is whether Google's AI/algo is sophisticated enough to understand the appropriateness of social media for some queries but not others. If I'm looking for an answer to something that requires a specific legal reference I think I'd prefer a law school over a twitter posting. If I want info about a disease give me the Mayo Clinic, not Dr Feelgood at FB. Context is everything, and we're early in the game, so only time will tell if a search service can determine where social media is perfectly OK, and where it's not.

........................

coachm




msg:4323496
 3:41 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

rlange
You're acting as if mere exposure to Facebook or Twitter is going to destroy your brilliant intellect.


Trying to stay above the fray here, but...umm...well, our behaviors alter brain structure, so yes, social media WILL affect your cognitive functions and abilities.

A MUST read is The The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. Of the pop psych books that I look at (and by and large most are terrible), this one is part of my must read book.

coachm




msg:4323497
 3:46 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

lexipixel

There is tons of good, original content published everyday -- you just can't count on Google to help you find it anymor


And perhaps we disagree on this, or the implication. Writing stuff that nobody ever sees is like having sx with one of those blow up dolls (well, not that I know PERSONALLY).

People will do it, but after a while they realize there are better ways to spend their time. You think elite content creators, the true thought leaders are going to continue to post stuff nobody can find?

Leosghost




msg:4323504
 3:56 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

@rlange
In deference to tedster ( yes I counted ;-) ..and because I have work to do ..I'll be brief..

And also, some things I'll let slide ..because I can't honestly be bothered ..you're a facebook fan..good for you ..others of us are not ..for some reason you can't accept that ..hence my "parallels" with religions ..they too are more hostile towards atheists ..than to believers in other religions..

"as long as the peasants are paying their tithes to one of us it is OK ..what is dangerous and must be fought against and denounced are those who wish to tithe to no one"<= paraphrasing..;-)

I have my beliefs, certainly. Your claim, and my general agreement, that society is dumbing down isn't actually supported by any evidence. If you can point me to any scientific study that concludes with confidence that society in general is getting dumber, I will be more than happy to apologize.

Now there you lost me ..you apparently agree to some degree with me that society is dumbing down, but say there is no evidence ( and yet you agree with me..despite that you claim there is no evidence )..then you tell me to point to any scientific study ..( there are many ..plus my own wide and varied experience tells me this ..but you get to do your own research ..by inference of your membership here, one supposes that you know how to do your own searches, unless you are paying me to do them for you , I must decline, I have other things to do than teach you to sing, and the assumption that if you don't know of things , that ergo they do not exist, is dangerous and restricting for you )

Why do you think you can't do the same with Facebook or Twitter without avoiding the drek ,

You make the same mistake about me as others did in this thread about coachm ..also you would not have made this error if you had in fact read the thread..I have multiple accounts at both facebook and twitter..each opened entirely to protect the names of various businesses I own from having their names used by others ..I have the same with gmail, hotmail and yahoo ..I have had all of these for some considerable time ..and I keep them all just "ticking over" enough to keep control over their names ..I understand many others here do the same..

I have no personal accounts anywhere in those companies ..nor will I ever do so ..again I understand that many here treat these companies in a similar way.

I also obviously therefore know and have read their TOS ..and can assure you that you are indeed required to give your true name ..or risk having the accounts revoked ..the fact that many give false names ..does not mean they do not ask and make obligatory that you give your true names with non company accounts..

Which is why I do not see why I should have to have a personal account with a 3rd party ( facebook or twitter et all ) in order to read the information from my utility provider or the company I bought a TV from ..who now refer me to their facebook pages..having removed their public facing customer relations departments from their own sites and into the walled gardens of others..

It is now almost obligatory in many western countries to have internet and even face book accounts, because if you wish to access the government services information which are paid for with your taxes, or to contact the customer service departments of companies from whom you have purchased..



I'm not sure you quite finished that thought...
It is now all on their websites, and nowhere else ..and increasing so all on their facebook pages..in a private walled garden..the entry price of which is giving up your privacy to a corporation whose business is selling access to your profile.




This is paranoid. You are aware that there is very little you actually "must" share on Facebook and Twitter, right? You don't even have to use your real name.

See above ..yes indeed you do ..or you are in contravention of their TOS..

Obviously they do not have my true name ..which bears no resemblance to my nick here ..and is fortunately sufficiently close in the anglicised spelling of it, to that of a "personality" that even if search engines did not give up long before , it would be found on page 100,000 and something, even searched for with quotes around via the old "could actually find things " Google that we once new :-)

Lest you repost .."but that is not the case" ..remember the world is larger than the part you know ..it is not the same everywhere..I'm in neither the same country as you, nor on the same continent.

(Also, if you're going to complain about the declining intelligence of society, it's best not to screw up something as simple as "to" vs "too".)

I suspect that you were not posting that brilliant repost ..at 05.00 am your time.. It was in fact just after 05.oo am my time..after 18 hours awake .., doing 3 other texts at the same time ..one of which was in another language ( the one all my keyboards are in and the one in which I now predominantly think and work when typing or speaking )..and the last of which was in a language that I understand only partially ..

I also saw the error almost immediately ..but I make it a point of honour not to "edit" my posts if more than one other person has posted since , even for typos due to lack of concentration due to tiredness, as it is all too easy to distort conversations that way ..but as you obviously relish your imagined point , have it , with pleasure..

Get the maximum amount of data about the sheep, to better control the flock..and keep them distracted and unaware that it is being done..smoke and mirrors..




This has been claimed for decades. I tend not to subscribe to conspiracy theories. You're welcome to them, of course.


I'm claiming nothing which has been "claimed for decades" .you are perchance assuming I'm a believer in the zionist conspiracy ..or a devotee of Mr Iycke ..both more smoke and mirrors..

I've met firsthand some of the people and families who control the movements and prices of some of what we think of as basic commodities world wide..and whose families have done so for generations ..privately, discreetly , always getting a percentage , I even agree to a very large extent with how this all works , and I certainly do not have a viable workable alternative, and I was asked what would mine be ;-) ..not that anyone was going to implement it ..almost all alternatives have been looked at and or tried..or are in progress..

The fact that I know some of this ..does not make me want to pretend it doesn't exist..you are perfectly within your rights to do so however ..that is indeed how it should be and is intended to be, and the place runs all the more smoothly for it ;-)

Crowd sourcing decisions only leads to the rise of mediocrity ..which is what in this instance I and apparently coachm are concerned about ..

@tedster..yes indeed ..not all the users of either twitter or facebook are reality TV watching sheep ;-)..but as your are aware my primary business is not the internet ..and I don't have the time or the inclination to wade through the seas of bilge to get to the occasional atoll of intelligence..likewise facebook ..many people both here and elsewhere and whom I respect and admire now use facebook to pass on their news ( even those with their own websites ) ..but until I can be certain ( and one certainly cannot trust "Mark" on this ).that a visit to their pages will not leave a trackback to me, then their news and walls will not be showing me anything..

There are probably many spelling errors in the above..( my non English spell checker thinks every word I type here is incorrect ;-) .but I now have put off doing any real work and correspondence as long as I can for this afternoon at least..

our behaviors alter brain structure,

precisely coachm ;-)..which is why, now that I have spent more of my life outside of the UK ( and using a language(s) other than English ) than I have spent in it ..my written and spoken English is at best shall we say , sometimes a little "wiggy" around the edges.. ;-)

Unless I reread and correct, but life is short and you get the gist, and no one is paying me here for my prose ;-)

db01




msg:4323557
 5:55 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

@rlange
"Likely an antitrust investigation by the E.U. and U.S.. The E.U. looked into this sort of thing [bbc.co.uk] back in November 2010. I don't know what ever came of it, or if it's still going, though.

Like Microsoft, though, I suspect the E.U. would come down harder on Google than the U.S. government would."
Well you don't have to wipe them out, just a small tweak in the algo can bring the buzz related with FB/Twitter to the third, forth page...and you are clean with the above.

rlange




msg:4323590
 6:59 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

coachm wrote:
Trying to stay above the fray here, but...umm...well, our behaviors alter brain structure, so yes, social media WILL affect your cognitive functions and abilities.

This belief that simply being on Twitter exposes you to the detritus of society seems to be born of a significant ignorance about how these sites actually work.

What is it about social media that you're afraid will negatively affect you, which is unavoidable, and which is different from the general Internet? What do you think happens when you create a Twitter account?

(Edit: It occurred to me that you may believe that there are detrimental behavioral changes one must make to take advantage of Twitter and Facebook. Is this accurate? If so, what are these changes you believe must be made?)

--
Ryan

lexipixel




msg:4323660
 9:13 pm on Jun 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

There is tons of good, original content published everyday -- you just can't count on Google to help you find it anymore
-lexipixel


And perhaps we disagree on this, or the implication. Writing stuff that nobody ever sees is like having sx with one of those blow up dolls (well, not that I know PERSONALLY).
-coachm


Strange analogy... or comment, or argument, or whatever that meant.

coachm




msg:4323782
 2:06 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have a bunch of comments, so first, thanks again for all the comments. I'm going to focus on some of the most salient.

(Edit: It occurred to me that you may believe that there are detrimental behavioral changes one must make to take advantage of Twitter and Facebook. Is this accurate? If so, what are these changes you believe must be made?)


Actually, that's close considering I haven't explained it much, but there's not much question that the Internet and now social media affect brain structure, such that one becomes less able, or unable, to concentrate, and read more demanding,longer pieces. It all has to do with neuroplasticity, and how what you DO affects brain structure, including the things you stop doing.

If you are still able (and I'm not insulting you here, because this applies to me also) read The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr. There are some other books out that deal with similar subject matter, and there will be more as the research matures.

It's a great book, easily understood, as opposed to Jaron Lanier's book, and you'll "get it" after two chapters.

coachm




msg:4323785
 2:17 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Someone mentioned having the courage of convictions and banning googlebot, and of course, that doesn't show much of the understanding of the issue -- having the best content, not just popular content, FINDABLE.

But just to respond, today, I shut down one of our older sites, a site that has had in excess of 2 million visitors (not page views), in a fairly tight niche. Shortly I'll probably sell off the domain.

Obviously, I will create no more content in that niche.

Why shutting down? Lots of reasons, actually, but partly because the site, once an important source for sales and income, has lost all its traffic, and I'm not willing to put any more effort into it, PARTICULARLY if that effort involves mindless retweeting, spamming, socially networking with people I wouldn't spend 2 minutes with at a cocktail party...

And yes, it's partly Panda, and other things.

So, to answer the courage of my conviction issue.

It's gone, Dave. No more content there, Dave. It's gone.

And it won't be back.

I don't mind. But if we assume the site had original content and that I AM a real world authority on much of the content that used to be there, is this a good thing?

Well, ok. In the grand scheme of things, it's insignificant, but I'll tell you once more that people such as myself who have been putting really in depth content on the net, not so much for profit, but to connect with like minded thoughtful people, won't do it anymore.

Say what you will about meeting this person or that, the majority of the top people in almost every field not related to Internet and social media, simply are NOT spending their time "tweeting" and "Liking" each other.

coachm




msg:4323796
 2:43 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

And on "authority"

Google has talked about how important it is to them to place sites/pages with "authority" higher in the SERPS. THe question is how do they determine it.

If authority in the non-virtual world gets boiled down to how many people "Liked" you, we have a problem.

Let me use me as example, and please, I'm not boasting here. A combination of education, hard work, and a whole lot of luck brought me here.

I've written 15 or so books. I don't bother counting anymore. Almost all of those books have turned a profit for publishers and myself. Except for having support websites, I have done virtually NO MARKETING. And I've sold somewhere around 400,000 copies around the world, including translated version in French, Chinese, Spanish and German, that I know of. (Nobody tells me nothing).

In a few of my niches, I am the recognized authority on these topics in my country, and while less so in other places, I'm up there in the top 5.

I've been asked to speak in Europe, my material has been used by the United Nations, and...ok you get the point.

To be clear, I don't expect congratulations, and I don't take myself so serious or these "accomplishments", as meaning much of anything. I know stuff. I see some of the people here who know 100 times what I know about THEIR niches.

So, as social signals grow in effect, do you want me to spend my time tweeting, or even marketing, or if you work in my niches, maybe you'd really like me to write another book, a better book than the last one, with new thoughts and ideas that might make a difference in someone's life?

Or even better, maybe you'd like to find the over 200 original articles (a number reprinted for pay, or written for decent print magazines). Maybe, since they are free, you'd like to see if I have an answer to YOUR problem in my area of expertise?

Well, if social weighs too heavily, you won't have any of that, and while I'm just one person, I assure you that I'm not the only one.

Yes, marketing is important, but since I've made over a million dollars via the Internet (eh, well, I've been doing it forever) without marketing, you have to understand that the people at the top or middle top of most fields not "popular" will stop, or won't start.

It's a funny thing. A lot of the "thinkers" won't do social, because they recognize that most of it is illusion, and they have better things to do. It's not even about the money.

Illusion? Yup. Between 80-90% of tweets receive no, zero, nada responses of any type. No retweets, no replies. Nothing. If you look at Twitter accounts and the data (Twitter is great because of their so open API), what you will find is the huge overwhelming majority of accounts have been abandoned, and businesses alone abandon (give up) at a rate I once estimated from my data, at about 20% PER MONTH.

Combine that with the fact that the majority of tweets come from a tiny minority of accounts, and you have a complete illusion.

This isn't conjecture, you just have to look at the data, and anyone with the technical know how and time can do so.

So, when some of you lecture me about business and marketing and how things change, sorry bubs, but Twitter is a horrible platform for business.

There is hardly anybody "really there".

(I'm doing a tangent here).

Not only does the above apply, but here's another. When I joined Twitter, I got into the dialogue type thing (about two years ago). If that still existed, I could at least enjoy Twitter, even if it didn't have much business clout.

But it doesn't. Where there were lively conversations almost everyday before, it's almost (maybe 95% of what I see) broadcasted links, promo stuff, that almost nobody pays attention to, and there's just SO little real conversation of ANY sort (regardless of quality) it's gotten silly.

All this has profound impact for the claims some have made about social media platforms like Twitter. But I can say similar things for blogs and blog comments.

Like I need to read "Hey, man, great article in comments?

I understand some people like Twitter, and Facebook, and more power to you. Use it. Enjoy it, and if you can make it make money for you, go for it.

I don't want to HAVE to use it to make a living, and if you knew me, you wouldn't want me wasting my time doing that when I have other, better things to offer you. It's not that I'm so smart. It's that I don't like doing stupid things with my time.

So, bottom line. If I have a choice between being FORCED to use social media so I can be found in the SERPS, or shutting down, or stopping posting articles, what do you think I'm going to do.

Today, my first website shut down. I'll do other things to make a living.

Play_Bach




msg:4323797
 2:47 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well, ok. In the grand scheme of things, it's insignificant, but I'll tell you once more that people such as myself who have been putting really in depth content on the net, not so much for profit, but to connect with like minded thoughtful people, won't do it anymore.


One could argue that you're unique and there aren't "people such as myself." You may very well stop contributing, but it's a stretch to say others will join you.

Leosghost




msg:4323800
 2:56 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

PARTICULARLY if that effort involves mindless retweeting, spamming, socially networking with people I wouldn't spend 2 minutes with at a cocktail party...

Say what you will about meeting this person or that, the majority of the top people in almost every field not related to Internet and social media, simply are NOT spending their time "tweeting" and "Liking" each other


Precisely..and were I a few years older and with a little more money put by..I'd be very inclined to either close or just allow to decline if that were the case, some of my stuff..as someone said in another post on another site today, but also on the subject of face book in particular..

"The attention deficit generation . Idiocracy was/is NOT fiction."

I adjusted my quote of their post so as not to give the mods / admins , work.

@ Play_Bach..you'd be surprised, why pay hosting and bandwidth if the emphasis on "social" means gathering likes from facebook, which not everyone wants to do, in order for the site(s) to be viable..

Interaction and appreciation from your own visitors should count ..not how many facebookers and twitterers like you , especially if most of them can't understand what you write, due to their own educational shortcomings ..not everyone wants to dumb down.

[edited by: Leosghost at 3:05 am (utc) on Jun 9, 2011]

coachm




msg:4323801
 2:57 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

One could argue that you're unique and there aren't "people such as myself." What you're doing is generalizing. You may very well stop contributing, but it's a stretch to say others will join you.


Sure it's a generalization, but what percentage of scientists are active on Twitter? On Facebook? Most affiliated with universities have their own pages, but what percentage?

Doctors? Ah. Right.

Here's one that is better because it's more relevant. Non-Fiction writers. I wonder how many of the best selling authors are PERSONALLY active in social media on a regular basis, say of the top 1000 selling non-fiction books. On topics like science, management, psychology (not the pop crap).

You'll often find a "presence" which means there's an account on Twitter, because it's expected, but either they hire ghost tweeters (man, what a concept when someone like Guy Kawasaki gets busted).

So maybe they wouldn't be active producing neat stuff on websites anyway. But, if they can't be found, and they'd rather write books, (as is the case for real writers), you think you are going to see them on Twitter?

At best they'll "market", and I don't think Einstein would have spent much time tweeting so he could have people go to his website to read about that E=Mc stuff.

I don't have data, true. And yeah, am I speculating some? Sure. When you try to look at the implications of something on future events, you have to extrapolate, make some assumptions, etc.

Do I think it's the end of the world? No.

coachm




msg:4323802
 3:03 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)


Precisely..and were I a few years older and with a little more money put by..I'd be very inclined to either close or just allow to decline if that were the case, some of my stuff..as someone said in another post on another site today, but also on the subject of face book in particular..


I was close. Two more years and the plan was to put the websites on complete auto-pilot, and though I don't ever plan on retiring (writing is something you get better at as you age if you work at it), I would spend the rest of my days perfecting that craft.

Ah well. I've produced six books in the last 18 months of so including second editions (which are revisions).

Now, I need to re-build the sites I plan to keep, probably 3-4 out of fifteen, and I've cancelled plans to build some sites I REALLY wanted to do for my own satisfaction.

So, that's what I do, and it "looks" knock on wood, from the last two days, that I'm succeeding a bit. (Well, two decent days...eh)

As for Facebook, I see a lot of people using it the way it was intended, and it works great for that. The platform is so clumsy to work with on the development side, and it's so quirky, I can't see trying again.

Google succeeded because of brilliant minds (before). Facebook isn't even close, but had a good idea.

AlyssaS




msg:4323804
 3:15 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Why shutting down? Lots of reasons, actually, but partly because the site, once an important source for sales and income, has lost all its traffic, and I'm not willing to put any more effort into it, PARTICULARLY if that effort involves mindless retweeting, spamming, socially networking with people I wouldn't spend 2 minutes with at a cocktail party...

And yes, it's partly Panda, and other things.


Coachm - I was struck by the above comment. It might be Panda that took out your traffic, but you are giving up because you are angry about social elements?

First of all - it's OK to not like social elements. You don't have to spend all day tweeting etc. Just set up twitter, and use twitterfeed to feed links from your blog to twitter and Facebook - and then leave it at that. If people like the stuff they'll like it, if they don't they won't, but at least you'll have a presence there, and you won't even have to log in and interact if you don't feel like it.

Then concentrate your undoubted intelligence on finding out why your site got pandalised - and it's probably nothing to do with dumb social elements at all, but instead something technical.

P.S. Just because you are closing down your site, don't assume that the knowledge you put out there is lost to the world. You've probably already been scraped to death, and with you bowing out, the scrapers can happily rank instead with your stuff. There is no such thing as removing info from the web. Once you put it out there, it takes on a life of it's own. Versions of it will be floating around long after your physical body has passed away.

Leosghost




msg:4323805
 3:21 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Two more years and the plan was to put the websites on complete auto-pilot, and though I don't ever plan on retiring (writing is something you get better at as you age if you work at it), I would spend the rest of my days perfecting that craft.

Substitute maybe five or so more for two more..and painting and sculpture for writing ..and the rest of that paragraph expresses my own sentiments and case exactly..;-)

Running sites was interesting, now not so much, and, if the idiocracy gets to decide if they are seen or not , then only the auto pilot money makers will be left on...they don't need me to work facebook or twitter.

I'd rather use my time painting sky or with my family any day than sat in front of these things..

As with coachm ..if we don't need to ..why would we ..there is a point to why we are choosy about who we'd drink with ..or why all my phones are unlisted numbers.

coachm




msg:4323817
 4:53 am on Jun 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks AlyssaS and Leosghost.

I'm not giving up. I'm starting a move to more fertile fields where I can do what I want, how I want with the people I want (erp, well, that's the hope).

Shutting stuff down is a business strategy, and a personal strategy so I can accomplish what I'd like in the years remaining to me.

As for using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, you bet I'm feeding feeds, and in fact, I've "feedified" some of my pages this week to completely automate the entire process on STATIC HTML content.

I'm so shmart! Except that's a p*ss poor use of "social" tech.

By shutting down sites, it will allow me to keep my webwork time constant, or reduce it, by focusing on creating/modifying so my remaining sites are really top notch, or as good as I can get them.

But as Leosghost says, it's not much fun anymore, although right now, I'm determined to get my traffic back, and I'm a stubborn cuss.

But the plan is to do road warrior conference speaking and live training, where I'm hoping to command more in one hour than I could reasonably earn in three months of web income (at current levels). Then again, I believe in Pixies.

It's not all about the money. It's about ideas and real people too. I just don't care for the travel stuff.

So, we'll see. I have to market THAT live stuff in some way, but at least I don't have to pretend to enjoy the tweets of bozos who sound like refugees from a chinese fortune cookie writing school.

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