Information vs Noise

Oct 20th

If you love reading, JOHO has an interesting article about information...a bit beyond the scope of SEO, but interesting. :)

Noise is the sound of the world refusing abstraction, insisting on differences that are never the same as every other difference. If we are indeed exiting the age of information, perhaps we are entering — have entered — the age of noise.

Maki explains how noise appears in online publishing

Blogs that just repeat information already published elsewhere are providing value that can be substituted. To put it another way, these sites are completely dispensable. They lose out when a choice has to be made due to time/attention scarcity. These sites are usually the ones that just regurgitate content released on mainstream media or other larger blogs. Their identity is virtually unrecognizable. A great logo and design won’t save them.

If you want to avoid your work becoming "the commons" in The Tragedy of the Commons what is the solution for sustained distribution and profits?

Either you need a unique lens that adds enough value that makes people want to talk about you (Jon Stewart style)

or unique information sources (both TechCrunch and The Wall Street Journal benefits from news leaks)

or specialization and in depth knowledge, as recommended by Vannevar Bush in his As We May Think from 1945:

There is a growing mountain of research. But there is increased evidence that we are being bogged down today as specialization extends. The investigator is staggered by the findings and conclusions of thousands of other workers—conclusions which he cannot find time to grasp, much less to remember, as they appear. Yet specialization becomes increasingly necessary for progress, and the effort to bridge between disciplines is correspondingly superficial.

Professionally our methods of transmitting and reviewing the results of research are generations old and by now are totally inadequate for their purpose.

Information in one market is noise in the next. The quality level needed to get to the top is determined by the competition. Summing up a competitive online marketing strategy in a saturated field can be done with 2 bits:

  • Are people talking about you?
  • Are they talking about you more than the competition?

In the long run search engines are just counting the bits.

Published: October 20, 2008

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Comments

October 20, 2008 - 6:00am

This really drives home somethings that I have been thinking lately. I really see the need to stay informed and constantly "keep up" with all of the different SEO/SEM news out there. But at the same time, everytime I look at my feed reader, I get a slight panic when I see 30 or 40 new post from the morning when I last checked it.

One of the biggest assets that I think someone that is doing in house SEO should try to bring to the table is the ability to take in, and filter all of the noise from the info and make that info available to the folks that will be making the decisions.

October 20, 2008 - 9:49am

There is one problem – you cannot create news (I mean most of us), nor can you write something that does not exist.

You have to present things in an interesting way.

No one can avoid noise.

Heck even the big sites just reproduce content published elsewhere in a different and interesting way. Eg. News sites.

I don’t want to name, but a very popular blog produces 4-5 pages of "marketing a blog" sort of stuff everyday with most articles saying the same things in another way.

I was once paid $10 per news article to "recreate" news in a high traffic news portal.

October 20, 2008 - 10:57am

I don't think the goal should be eliminating all noise...I think focusing on creating things that have not been covered elsewhere (at least most of the time) is a better strategy to stay relevant. And the easiest way to do that is to have a unique perspective and a unique set of experiences...which, as you said, would give one the ability to present things in an interesting way.

October 20, 2008 - 9:56pm

Quality is key. It makes no sense to post a bunch of poor content simply to score on SEO, when you are really diluting your brand. Great, you've drawn some visitors to your site. But are they seeing you at your best? If they are not, then you are hurting your own cause. You have to balance SEO with SOR, Speed of Relevance. Which is how quickly and effectively you connect with your readers. Which is the foundation of quality content.

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