Image: Blog Action Day 2009 Original badge supplied and licensed under creative commons by Change.org—
As I begin typing this post its 23:05pm and I’m in a parking bay at Gatwick Airport awaiting an imminent ‘phone-call for pick-up’ from my parents who are due to return from holiday via Gatwick’s North Terminal. I find myself accompanied only by my laptop, a stream of informative tweets and a random assortment of thoughts (some of which are my own)…
Six days ago I missed my opportunity to support the worthy ‘Blog Action Day #BAD09‘ campaign, my intention to publish a Climate Change related blog post was overpowered by my to-do list but the act of doing so has never left my consciousness. This appears to be the moment I write and publish my belated submission, and as fate would have it, its based on something I read only 5mins ago on Twitter.com.
The fact that I’ve just driven a forty minute journey to an airport to collect my parents from their incoming five hour flight is perhaps not the best start towards legitimatizing a Climate Change post but this behavior may pail in comparison to what I’m currently pondering – I’d love to hear your thoughts and extend the range of my current thinking:
Earlier today (21st October 2009) it was announced that the Microsoft search engine Bing.com had purchased the legal right to process and display real-time data from Twitter.com and Facebook.com within its own search results.
Just minutes ago, approximately five hours after I first heard of Bing’s announcement, Marissa Mayer of Google.com has just announced (via her twitter.com account and Google’s official blog) that the worlds largest and most popular search engine has also struck a deal to use twitter.com real-time data in Google search results.
In short, this means that Google.com and Bing.com (two of the worlds biggest players in internet search) could soon be providing ‘up-to-the-minute’ relevant results (and in time I’m guessing these may even encompass up-to-the-second results for key topics). In Future, the introduction of such search technologies will perhaps even replace the Days-Old-References and Paid-Adword search infrastructure we are currently used too.
On the face of it this all sounds fantastic, having access to the most up-to-date information is a positive concept with massive benefits for everyone (up-to-the minute/second data would be brilliant for academia and small business, to name but two potential users); and the ability to search for a town name or a person and be given news that happened only moments before would be amazing for citizen journalism and society as a whole.
This said, the likely carbon emissions and wider climate changing effects of cloud computing, continuous data processing and yet more digital legacy, waste and storage requirements leave me hesitant and more than a little concerned about the long-term consequences. The reason for this post however is not to tackle such hearty debates as power consumption and server efficiency, but to raise one further and perhaps more important point:
During the past year a growing number of businesses, SPAMers and so called Social Media Marketeers have been jumping on board the twitter.com bandwagon, unconscious to the global impact and clueless to the long-term destination, filling it with valueless tweets, get-rich-quick-advice and porn links in misguided attempts to increase their Audiences and Website Footfall. Now given these latest announcements from Google and Bing I feel its probable that the problem will get worse before it gets better – every Breakfast-Cereal-Entrepreneur and Zig Ziglar wannabe will perceive twitter.com as the latest ‘cost-free’ search-engine-optimization (SEO) and keyword pipeline towards Top 10 search listings on Google.
With this in mind, I think its safe to say that Google.com, Bing.com or any other real-time search organizations will already be looking beyond simple keyword algorithms and twitter trends, towards the reliability and associated networks and conversations of user accounts and tweets, and drilling down further still into the profiles, links, analytics and assets. I only wish they’d announce the complexities of their search methodologies to the mindless Breakfast-Cereal-Entrepreneur, Joe Public and Social Media Marketeer, as to put an instant stop to a large percentage of useless keyword attempts and valueless content creation.
I’ve spoken my mind enough and hopefully planted a Climate Change related seed of thought. I’ll leave you with one final ‘announcement from this week‘ that in some way relates to the above:
The American Government, specifically the CIA (already rumored to own parts of Facebook) have just invested heavily in real-time search and social media monitoring technologies – put short, this means its likely that global governments will soon be monitoring more than CCTV, Bank Statements and Credit Card Transactions (if they aren’t already doing so that is). I’m personally not paranoid about such things but I can see why people do have privacy concerns, especially if they are up to no good. With this said, I live in hope that such governments and authorities might at some point in the future be using such monitoring technologies and tools to Criminalize, Prosecute and Carbon Tax the individuals and businesses that consciously waste and SPAM our powerful digital resources – beware anyone thinking of short-term SEO and Keyword gain!
Additional notations for future pondering:
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