OK, soapbox time kiddies.
Back in the day we researched information in places called “Libraries”. These places had things called “books” where information about the world was stored. As a writer, one must put time, energy and money into the creation of a “book”. These barriers to entry as it were would keep lunatics, astroturfers and common-folk from ever writing a book. Therefore the library was heralded as the cornerstone of information gathering back in my day. Those erudite intellectuals, creative geniuses and wealthy land owners had a way to communicate to the masses what was once called “knowledge”.
Enter today. Now the masters of information (not knowledge) have cobbled together a way to present search results assembled from twitter and facebook public streams of thought. How thinly veiled that barrier to entry to publish and share information is today. Just months ago you had to at least understand the very basics of HTML or blog creation in order to move from passive posting into a spot on a search engine. Now you won’t even need to have those minimal requirements. Now even lunatics, astroturfers and common-folk can represent their “knowledge” as information within search results and have it displayed as relevant as today’s natural results.
Within 24 hours both Google and Bing have released information that they will be including social web results from Twitter and Facebook in the stream of natural search results. While they have not demonstrated their facility to do this without increasing #failwhale or without breaching the TOS for either one of the social networks my larger fear is that information will once again become more questionable and take yet another large departure from knowledge.
As a marketer, I of course will jump on the band-wagon and make sure that my clients are even better represented amongst the new social web results within Google and Bing. I will make sure that their results rank higher than all their competition and that their products and services receive the exposure they deserve. It is fair to say that social web search will be an impressive technology advancement however I am not so sure that it advances us intellectually as a people.
Off the soapbox, you may now return to your regularly scheduled Google search.
Call me if you want to listen to a more extended rant.