Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Abstract Distraction

I invited an unexpected seepage of weirdness to slip into a recent Google session when I searched on:

useful information

After the first three hits (related to URL registration and possible Ad Sense spending) the next three were all about useless information -- with accompanying link. Did I get that right? I asked for useful and the Google engineers thought I meant the opposite of what I asked for?

Now I can imagine that it gets discouraging to look at query patterns all day and witness the inarticulate way how people attempt to satiate their info-hungers. I too stand witness to the fact that Google illiteracy is prevalent not only among people who hate searching but people with advanced academic degrees who never stop.

But until the national debt is closed by taxing Internet access by the minute there's little incentive to trick Google into opening the discovery door for you to pass through. Heck, I'd settle for a second-rate mind-reader if it could even identify the door someone with my curiosity passed through the last time a similar question was asked.

The pit in my stomach fills with this familiar lesson -- information is: (1) an abstraction for most, and (2) unlike other abstractions like "strategy" and "happiness" and "victory" it doesn't have an identifiable outcome or range of possibilities that enable it as a worthy achievement or desirable goal. Our best hope for information is to consider it a verb and leave the rest of it to the actions we'll take -- not on its behalf but our own.

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About attentionSpin

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attentionSpin is a consulting practice formed in 1990 to create, automate and apply a universal scoring system (“The Biggest Picture”) to brands, celebrities, events and policy issues in the public eye. In the Biggest Picture, attentionSpin applies the principles of market research to the process of media analytics to score the volume and nature of media coverage. The explanatory power of this research model: 1. Allows practitioners to understand the requirements for managing the quality of attention they receive 2. Shows influencers the level of authority they hold in forums where companies, office-seekers, celebrities and experts sell their visions, opinions and skills 3. Creates meaningful standards for measuring the success and failure of campaigns and their connection to marketable assets.