A while ago I wrote about some of the reasons SEO is given a bad wrap in general. Rand also posted today about how being an SEO is like being a plastic surgeon. I think another key issue which is not typically discussed much is the concept of authority and how it plays a role in media influence. If search may have the power to undermine many locally monopolistic publishing companies it benefits those companies to state that search has holes in it and that people manipulate it. Don't trust search - trust us, your reliable honest trustworthy truthful blah blah blah media source.
Circulation is directly proportional to revenue at large media companies. A story about some evil manipulative ____ is doing __________ is easier to spread than a story about how wonderful SEOs are.
Large media companies are owned by corporations with ties to other mega corporations. They have a long history of sticking up for one another even when they are 100% in the wrong, and have went as far as syndicating public relations garbage to the general populous to sell bogus wars.
Television stations present unoriginal sponsored pre-packaged content as though it is original home grown reporting.
Even some school text books and prestigious journals are created or sponsored by ultra biased self-interested companies.
Instances of the use of front groups as a PR technique have been documented in many industries. For example, the coal mining corporations have created environmental groups that contend that increased CO2 emmissions and global warming will contribute to plant growth and will be beneficial, trade groups for bars and beer distributers have created and funded citizens' groups to attack Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and tobacco companies have created and funded citizens' groups to advocate for tort reform and to attack personal injury lawyers.
I believe that for the most part unbiased content will grow less and less profitable and decrease in quality and availability as time passes and more publishers are forced to become more aggressive with their monetization efforts. Google's drive for efficiency will train many independent publishers how to replace traditional media. Social networks and media consumption habits will also be heavily tracked and greatly replace the role of traditional intermediaries.
"The FCC's efforts on VoIP are like trying to solve traffic and energy problems by stifling the rollout of energy-efficient hybrid vehicles, while subsidizing SUVs," he said.
If you are exercising influence to dupe people it is fine if you are already in a seat of power, but if you are not then they want to expose you to make it look as though they are more pure - when it is rarely the case.
As corporations increasingly are able to embed themselves into the genes of humanity and create communication roadblocks while syndicating spin is there a way beyond it all? Will popular opinion be nothing more than people expressing how they are trained to think?
Sorry for all these cryptic rant posts. They are primarily driven from the following elements
- I have a killer flu / strep throat / headache / etc
- Last weekend offered many experiences which made me realize a general lack of purpose and a lack of passion I have been living with for a while, which sucks. I not only saw the passion with which some others live with, but also broadened my perspectives in a few other ways, and that made me feel great guilt for my lack of passions and living less than optimally for far too long.
- I went from being a total failure to pretty successful pretty quick (at least financially), but I feel the learning curve has leveled off to where I have become pretty bored recently, and still need to do a lot of work on the social / physical / mental aspects of life.
- I think it is important to question my own actions and authority MORE than I question anything else. I generally have a distaste for authority, and in the last month I have
- worked with people who are true mentors (though I feel they think more of me than I think of myself)
- been mentioned on my favorite marketing blog (thanks Seth)
- been asked to co-author books by well known publishers
- been asked to review papers for well known journals (when I don't know shit about peer review processes, etc.)
- been asked to talk to deans of a couple schools about how I would modify their courses (when I never went to college and only started learning about the web less than 4 years ago)
- That sort of opportunity has gotten to feel a bit surreal when coupled with a feeling of stagnation and lacking purpose.
- I recently started reading A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History, and it is probably the most powerful, insightful, and worldview changing book I have ever read. And I am only like half way done with it.
- I have been thinking on some of Chomsky's philosophies
So does misrepresentation bother me? Sure, but so does rotten weather. It will exist as long as concentrations of power engender a kind of commissar class to defend them. Since they are usually not very bright, or are bright enough to know that they'd better avoid the arena of fact and argument, they'll turn to misrepresentation, vilification, and other devices that are available to those who know that they'll be protected by the various means available to the powerful. We should understand why all this occurs, and unravel it as best we can. That's part of the project of liberation - of ourselves and others, or more reasonably, of people working together to achieve these aims.
Sounds simple-minded, and it is. But I have yet to find much commentary on human life and society that is not simple-minded, when absurdity and self-serving posturing are cleared away.
So enough of my current rants and conditions... How do you fix this? Does the web help? What else is needed?
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