Discover more from Terms of Service with Chris Martin
The Future of Search [Content Made Simple]
Issue #302: Crisis communications, adult children, and more.
TOP OF THE WEEK
“Google results don’t feel authentic, or even written by a real human because the top articles are all in this keyword-loaded language,” said Dmitri Brereton, an engineer who researches search engines and AI. “Social media, especially TikTok, solves that authenticity problem because some experiential things are just better seen. It can’t get more authentic than a video of a person dining at a restaurant.”
To make matters worse, the sheer number of URLs has grown exponentially since Google search’s launch, while low-quality content has steadily proliferated. The prevalence of “keyword-loaded language” is a byproduct of Google’s ranking system and a more crowded internet. As more marketers learned how to game the system, SEO-driven websites and link farms have begun to dominate search results. Their strategy relies on manipulating Google’s search algorithm for page views, which in turn generates ad revenue.
Really interesting perspective into the future of search. Certainly does feel like we’re approaching a bit of an inflection point.
THE TRIVIA QUESTION
What is Stephen Spielberg’s highest-grossing movie?
Answer at the bottom.
HITTING THE LINKS
More transparency is almost always good!
Snapchat on Wednesday said it will begin publishing guidelines that detail what types of content gets algorithmically distributed in its app to users.
Why it matters: To date, only vetted publishing partners and professional creators on the platform have had access to the guidelines. Now, Snapchat is making them public to give parents more assurance about what their teens see on the app.
The guidelines will be available in Snapchat's Family Center, a portal within the app that lets parents with children under 18 on the platform see their child’s friend list and with whom they’re communicating.
I’ve actually thought about this a bit. You’re not going to agree with everything here, but I still think it’s insightful.
A better piece might have asked: why do the algorithms that govern online popularity incentivize people posting infantile sensory content? For my own part I’d guess the answer is some combination of “it’s inoffensive and therefore appealing to many different kinds of people” and “people have very strong reactions to it” — which is a different way of saying that it boosts engagement and therefore increases a site’s all-important growth metrics. Investors famously love this.
It absolutely boggles my mind how often social media is not considered in crisis communications. It’s literally the front lines a lot of the time.
In the age of social media, companies, brands and public figures are just one viral TikTok or tweet away from a full-fledged public relations crisis.
Why it matters: If communicators hope to regain control of the message and re-establish trust, their crisis management playbooks must now include strategies to combat misinformation and disinformation online.
State of play: Social media is the current battlefield for crises because it's where issues have the most potential to spin out of control.
THE FUNNY PART
You can subscribe to The Funnies here. (It is a weekly email of funny internet content, and it will always be free.)
Trivia Answer: Jurassic Park