Investigations in the bone heap of the lost generation. Today, Mashable.
The Internet is, first and foremost, a bone heap. It contains, stratified, the hopes and lies of year after year's worth of insolent nobodies. Layer atop layer, pile upon pile, succese peste succese. In (small) part the Internet is also an archeological site, of course. But by and large, the Internet is simply a midden.i
The lost generation is a complicated topic, mostly because the alienation sentiment is so very common among thinking humans. Nevertheless, what I mean by it in the very narrow context of this one article is the group of men and women coming of age after the Endless September.ii The first group of idiots who were going to do various "revolutionary" things known under the generic term of "dot com bubble", and the second group of idiots involved five-ish years later in the "web 2.0" fad, and the general population currently connected.
These aren't thinking humans in any sense. They are of course capable of word processing, but word processing is not in and of itself an intellectual activity. They are consensus generators and consensus seekers, but it is a very soft and rather dubious smelling sort of consensus. They are not merely inhabituated to be catered to, they are actually dependent on being catered to.
Generally the history of the world flows as an endless stream of challenges, to which the human species responds in two highly peculiar and therefore specific ways. One is dialectics, which is to say debate. The other is experimentation, which is to say the scientific method. Together, these not only constitute the cultural mark of humanity - without error or lapse throughout the ages - but actually work, in the sense of keeping the thinking human atop the slings and arrows of outrageous Fortune.
Exactly opposite to this, the lost generation reacts to challenge by seeking consensus, which is to say the choice exactly opposite of humanity ; and by retraction and avoidance rather than engagement, which is again to say the choice exactly opposite of humanity. The differences between this refuse and people do not end there, and in fact would constitute an interesting field of research. Nevertheless, for our needs here the point is, I think, well enough made. Thus "Investigations in the bone heap of the lost generation", and for good reason. Now let's look at an article.
is actually... it isn't very much of anything anymore.iii It used to be, five or so years ago, "a leading source for news, information & resources for the Connected Generation", soi dissant. It still sticks to that byline, leftover from a time gone by, today, but in truth these days it's more of a digg cca 2011 or something like that. A beached port city, the lighthouse still standing but little point for its light being lit at night.
The article I've picked (13 Ethical Ways to Increase Your Site's Search Traffic) is over a year old, and not topical (which is to say, doesn't deal with some time sensitive non-event, creating a circumstance where the pointlessness of the article will be excused by the monkeys on the flimsy rationale that "time has passed"). It declares to have accrued "13.9k shares", whatever that means. As it happens, it means exactly nothing. It is however useful, because the barely literate generation that believed things "because they're written" a century or two ago has its spiritual successors, people who believe things "because they're numbers". And the next generation, the people who believe things "because they're science" is pushing to take over, so no, the Idiocy Empire won't ever run out of populace. More amusingly, that little graph to the right, the "Mashable Velocity" doohickey would seem to propose all sorts of ludicrous nonsense, such as for instance the count of "shares" this past week equals the count of "shares" fifty three weeks ago.
What do you suppose "ethical" means in that context ? It is altogether difficult to know for sure, much like it's improbable anyone ever found out what "cool" actually meant in common usage cca 1960. When the barely literate, the functionally iliterate &al get hold of words, the results are never seemly. Nevertheless, I suspect "ethical" very simply translates to belonging.iv
If indeed I am correct, and what's said there is "How to build trafic like we do", specifically opposed to say "like how Putin builds traffic", if the actual goal is for the traffic builder to be part of "America" rather than "ISIS", then the important point is that contrary to all pretense, no technology is being contemplated in the article and perhaps by the site. You are not there to learn how to knit in order to knit, you are there to learn how to "knit" in order to not proceed differently from the other "knitters". Similarity is the goal, uniformity is the point. Not performance, and not results. While it may be the case that you won't ever actually knit anything this "knitting" way, nevertheless it may be the case that The Grand High Executioner of "Knitting" may behead you if you knit instead of "knitting", and moreover it's also possible (if a lot more unlikely - but we're not saying this outloud) that the Chief Supreme Minister of "Knitting" may reward you for your superb "knitting". Through, say, a series A, which is the vehicle for that purpose.
But let's move on to the bullet list. (Yes, of course : numeric values without a defined measuring unit, graphs without relation to reality and bullet lists. Just what exactly were you expecting ?)
1. Focus on the Long Tail
If you are a new site, it can be difficult to go after popular keywords right away. I find it better to write many quality articles on very specific keywords than to go after the ones with more search traffic. A great benefit of staying focused with long-tail key terms is that they usually convert better, as well. To help with this, I recommend a tool called HitTail, which drives targeted search visitors to your website by focusing on the most promising organic keywords in your existing traffic.
- Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers
Lawrence Watkins' name links to his twitter profile, which has been used continuously until July 2014, and then there's three tweets hence. Apparently the entire social media jazz exhibits a property very close to the spammer lifecycle. Quite amusingly, that Great Black Speakers thing is a monument to racism : not only it's nothing but black people, but they actually make a point of this. If I actually gave a shit I'd sue, but meh, the United States, who cares anymore.
2. Stick Around
The longer you are in business and producing quality online content, the more likely you are to pop up in search results for all related keywords. Starting a blog or churning out a bunch of articles is all fine and good, but keeping those activities going for years as opposed to months (or weeks) makes a huge difference.
- Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work
Alexandra Levit also links to a twitter profile, and she looks like she's still working hard at it. Her website is the self-promoting thing you'd expect, she has a "book" in the run (and a pile of five more out of print), is doing consulting, the works. Her blog's up to date, latest piece on December the 30th, "Interview with Mari Smith on Facebook for Business". The "Best online career expert" thing happened in 2010v. That's four years ago, and the fact that she's still sitcking suggests to me she's got exactly nothing in common with the derps she's surrounded by. Exactly like an European doctor that goes to a Africa for a vaccination campaign - he's not suddenly African just for being there, and for that matter he'd have gone to Burma if Burma were Africa, just so Levit, following the forms of the day to be able to do her chosen job.
3. Optimize Your Articles
There are three main ingredients to a successfully optimized web page or article: your meta title, description and keywords. This is such a simple thing to fill out when you're publishing a piece of content on your site, so take the time to do it each time, and you'll start to rank for your keywords much faster.
- Nathalie Lussier, The Website Checkup Tool
Nathalie Lussier (creator of Free 30daylistbuildingchallenge.com) is running a typical email collection thing, like the lowest of the low of the Warrior Forum. By the looks of things I suspect she's only doing this on the side, in exactly the manner of the mafia WAG running a (money losing) hair salon or whatever. There's a father or boyfriend there picking up the rent.
4. Don't Forget About (Ethical) Link Building
Keyword-embedded links are the foundation of off-page search engine optimization. The best part is that links can be free. Just ask vendors, partners, press, clients, your alma mater and any other credible source that you interact with to embed hyperlinked keywords back to your site for the terms that you are targeting. If the referring source has a high page rank, you should see a pop in your rankings in less than two months of them being published.
- Christopher Kelly, Convene
Christopher Kelly lists his twitter, on which he's sparsely active like someone that doesn't feel like bothering with the nonsense anymore but doesn't really have any sort of an alternative, and no other way to assuage the common loss aversion. The Convene thing is " The easiest place to host a better meeting", basically a wedding planning agency, targetted to the lower income section of that market.
5. Use Google's Keyword Tool
Use Google's Keyword Tool to find long-tail keywords that are not as competitive, then structure some content around those. If you are in a competitive niche, this is a way you can start building up some small recurring traffic and engage your users.
- Patrick Curtis, WallStreetOasis.com
Patrick Curtis also links a twitter, but one nobody seems to know about. WallStreetOasis is an obscure "niche forum"vi trying to pass itself off as authoritative. Like every other nothing online.
6. Provide Amazing Value to Your Readers
When it comes to increasing organic search, content marketing through blogging or guest posts is the fastest way to build great traffic. However, content marketing is a quality game and not a quantity game. If you have horrible content, people won't bother reading it or sharing it, which is basically the entire point of building a company blog. Therefore, when I write content, I constantly ask myself if I would take ten minutes out of my day to read it and if I'd share it with others. If you wouldn't do either of those things, then you really need to look at your content strategy again.
- Liam Martin, Staff.com
Liam Martin also links a twitter profile, one that's also been abandoned at some point in 2014. Don't you find it mildly strange that all these folk identify by means of profiles on the same one site ? This wouldn't be a naturally occuring structure in our midden, which is to say it didn't happen by chance but quite on the contrary, I suspect. We might have stumbled on the very meaning of "success" in this context, and it'd go something like this : google puts wikipedia pages up top on search results, not for any reason but arbitrarily. Because it's a safe bet, wikipedia pages are uniformly shitty but unsurprisingly so - and nobody got fired by being unsurprisingly shitty. By the same mechanism, everyone included in this article must have a twitter profile. Not for any reason, but just so. Out of the random interplay of this arbitrariety, modulated by the consensus seeking behaviour of the soft (and dubious smelling) sort of people that'd voluntarily involve themselves in this rather than say stargazing or making money, "success" of the online variety emerges. It works sort-of like goat sex, in that one day they all randomly crowd one poor goat, and the next day forget all about it. It follows then that it'd be the height of folly to seriously be pursuing such a thing, and the pinnacle of business incompetence to throw money at it. And yet...
7. Don't Try to Outsmart Google
Gaming Google's system might work temporarily, but it is not a good strategy for the long haul. To increase organic search traffic, produce top-notch content that's relevant to what your users might be searching. Check the Google Keyword Tool to make sure you're using the correct terminology that the general public is using when they're searching.
- Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent
The irony of this item is something else. Don't you find it just too damned good that it'd have to be a woman that'd propose you not try ? And especially not try to outsmart! Why shouldn't someone not try to outsmart something, Sarah ? Is this part of the agenda of 4th wave feminists in tech or something ? The glaring anti-intellectual ideology proposed by a girlie trying to associate herself with University-Something screams Only In America so very loudly it would never be credible in a book.
Anyway, her twitter's halfass updated but completely obscure, and "The #1 Destination for Parents to Quickly Find Important Dates, Housing & Campus Resources" doesn't seem to be doing anything past the bootstrap - unless you live mentally in that never-never land where finding hotels with friendly staff is a challenge. Everyone else just uses expedia, if they use anything at all. Still, let us remark on the mechanism of braindamage : the entire mental process of these people is "making the X of Y". So, if the "niche forum" is an attempt to sell advertising on specially-tailored reimplementations of the BBS (after trying to sell advertising on the generalist reimplementation of the BBS crashed and burned loudlyvii) then what she'll do is reimplement expedia but with a "niche". Because yeah, totally, the needs of people going to fuck coeds when it comes to hotels are so very different from the needs of people booking hotels generally that they actually make special hotels for them. Narf!
8. Think of SEO as an Opportunity to Create Value
SEO isn't a game. At least it's not a game that you'll win in the long run if you think of it as a game. Create content that readers find valuable and Google will deem search-worthy. Visitors are more likely to share content that they enjoyed reading and will stay on your site longer, while bloggers and the media might use your site as a reference, which means more organic links.
- Danny Wong, Blank Label
Danny Wong is a wanna-be journo I bet you never heard of, the blank label is some sort of pret-a-porter made to order online or somesuch. His verbiage however comes straight out of the lyrics of 90s pop, that syrupy "don't treat love like a game". Apparently the feminine minds inhabiting this particular ravine see Google as pretty much transcendent. And they wish to have relationships of that nature with it. Spooky.
9. Decrease Bounce Rate
If there is one thing search engines hate, it is a high bounce rate. Check your keywords for this, and optimize those pages to reduce your bounce rate. Search engines will love you for it.
- Adam Lieb, Duxter
The "entrepreneur building massive communities for obsessed gamers" links a twitter profile followed by 680... robots and fake accounts, as I very much doubt a full hundred actual humans are left on twitter by now, and they definitely wouldn't have heard of this guy. Duxter is simply MIA.
But look at that, we're at anthropomorphism already! And how would this guy know what the cute woodland creatures called "search engines" love or hate ? He's raised them for meat ? Eh, nevermind.
10. Produce Quality Content
Search engines are rewarding people and companies who are getting high-quality, consistent content coming from them. Things such as author rank are going to have a big effect on organic search results. Put a plan in place to not only create content to publish online, but also to be able to maximize the value of the content so that it is properly distributed across social channels and has a chance to go viral.
- John Hall, Influence & Co.
Obscure twitter, more or less maintained. That influence & co thing is... one of those. It promotes its blog which hasn't seen a post since before the Summer, so it can't be doing all that well. Doing what exactly ? Well... basically, you know those shady exchange students that peddled reused term papers and so forth, back in college ? That, pretty much, but for "your key people". Like you know, MP mocks some inept "CEO" on Trilema. Inept CEO can't quite write because he's a leader, not a writer, but he takes some of
his the investor's money and hires John Hall to write stuff that he can then sign and MP will be oh so very impressed he'll fall over. Instead of the much more likely summons to #bitcoin-assets, where the CEO in question can fall all over himself. But I suppose this all is intended to work in a time before stuff was discovered, in a parallel universe far far away where competence can be faked and so on and so forth.
11. Create a Company Blog to Increase SEO Traffic
SEO is king in organic search traffic. The more popular search terms within your niche that you include on your website, the more searches will organically lead to your site. But including too much text on the main pages of your site can do more harm than good, which makes it difficult for consumers to find the information they want. Instead of overwriting the copy on your homepage, about page and product pages, start a separate blog for additional SEO work. Use the blog to write about your niche, whether it's construction, beauty or entertainment. Try to do keyword research to find out which phrases are trending in your industry and include them in the blog posts. As long as your blog has a highly visible link back to the main page of the website, the blog will increase your visibility.
- Jay Wu, A Forever Recovery
A little ESL, but hey, guy's a sports/visuals sort of fellow. Obscure twitter (I need a special character for this concept by now), that thing's a rehab clinic, whatever.
12. Leverage Industry Experts
Everyone likes opining as an expert. You'll be surprised how easily you can convince industry leaders to contribute guest posts to your own blog. They will likely have their own readerships, and those people will become familiar with your brand. The experts are also likely to produce great written content that will be of great interest to your existing users.
- Chuck Cohn, Varsity Tutors
This reminds me of that great Harlan Ellison rantviii. Yeah, totally. Industry leaders would love nothing more than to write great stuff for you, free of charge. Provided the "industry leaders" in question are nineteen year old kids with serious mental issues that prevent them from interacting normally with a group of their peers, and the "great stuff" in question is unmitigated garbage. Sounds like a plan!
Anyway, in case you're still keeping track Chuck Cohn is diligently maintaining a twitter profile nobody knows about (nor would care if they did - because it's full of the same crap you see everywhere anyway) and that chatroulette thing sold 918 tickets in 2011ix. I somehow doubt it did that many again in 2014, but hey, an aquihire's always possible.
13. Create a Community
Increasing Google traffic is all about answering questions your community finds important. You need to become the authority in your niche. Have your community ask you questions, and you'll be well on your way to providing high-quality, valuable and useful content. That's what Google cares about. When you provide answers to your community's questions, Google will rank your site well for many keyword terms you wouldn't have been able to think of on your own. You create loyalty in your community and rank well in Google at the same time. That's a win-win.
- Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas
Mitch Gordon is yet another guy with yet another obscure twitter profile, and some niche site that won't go anywhere (this one offers "reviews for overseas study programmes", which is peculiarly idiotic but I'm too lazy to go into the details).
That's all. This is Mashable, and by extension the "social media" thing of the previous decadex : a bunch of aspiring hopefuls, of which about a fifth abandon each year, putting the average half-life somewhere in the three to four year range.
In which three to four years they will have "had great times" that aren't worth the mention and "met lots of exciting people" they can't actually remember to any degree. They will have made careful New Year's resolution lists four times, containing dozens upon dozens of items in bulleted lists that occur, if they occur at all, by pure chance - because their anti-industrious, infertile approach to life makes any sort of control impracticable. They will confuse the natural processes of biodegradation with their peculiar context, and so imagine that they've "grown" and "learned"xi, oblivious to the fact that they'd have "grown" exactly to the same degree and "learned" exactly the same things in any and all other conceivable contexts and circumstances, because their life is in fact an exercise at preventing growth and insulating themselves from learning, both exceedingly easy tasks at which they succeed remarkably well.
That there's nothing there, that they created nothing whatsoever, that nobody will ever or could ever read a line of their "great content", "amazing value" etcetera and think "oh my, this reads just like that guy Joe!" is a scary thought better left buried. Which I suppose is one way to look at this : the immense pile of now empty crab shells - the collected attempts of individual crabs at denying that they are soon gone, and while still here uninteresting except for the flesh.
You remember the queer feeling at the end of highschool, that all these vaguely familiar kids, mildly important by virtue of their continued presence being thrust into your sphere by the workings of organised chance had just exhausted their lease on... well maybe not life exactly, but any sort of actual existence ? That they'll continue on course, of course, finding jobs and losing jobs, getting married and divorced, never leaving the town of their birth, supporting offspring to continue the cycle... but nobody will ever know, and nobody will ever care ? That they've just returned to what they had always been, which is to say, a statistic ? Yeah, that's social media. It was a phase, supposedly important, mostly because we don't care enough to argue and it's done anyway.
I still remember Ellison, and Clemens, enough to quote them. Yet who of the crabs is even worth a name ? For all their buzzing around "branding", the tombstone has no names on it.———
- The difference between site and midden is that in the former, the thoughts of thinking humans, and the arts and crafts of industrious humans living in times gone by remain preserved and can be observed ; whereas in the latter various indigestible, refractory remains collect as the result of unrelated, unthinking activity.
So, if an architect sits down, draws the plans for a house, some builders collect materials, artists carve statues, the whole is put together and used for some purpose some years after which a volcano errupts and the lot is covered in metres of ash, an archeological site has been created. Whoever digs it up, if intelligent enough, may observe the life and activities (so the civilisation) as well as the thoughts and expectations (so the culture) of other intelligent beings no longer present.
Opposite to that, if a stable population of shelled crabs is for some ecological reason persistant on a particular beach, and some population of monkeys discovers that beach and generations upon generations of monkeys feast on the crabs, while their shells accumulate, the result isn't an archeological site, but a garbage heap, aka bone heap, aka midden. It's a pile of refuse, which has in common with the actual archeological site the nude fact that it can be used to understand something about the life, and perhaps a little about the activities of those involved. However, it is distinct from the archeological site proper in that no intelligence has been embedded alongside the bone and garbage, there's no culture buried there whatsoever. Just the blind workings of the universal clockwork. [↩]
- This was a very important, if rather unfortunate event. Prior to September 1993, the Internet was not accessible to the general public. After that date, AOL brought the worst of humanity in contact with... well... with itself, practically, because you can't put those into contact with anything else. [↩]
- Tellingly, its wikipedia page got vandalised months ago - nobody noticed so far. [↩]
- This rather transparent process of the intellectually simple is examined in more detail in an older article, in Romanian Identificarea grupului social si notiunea de bine (Identifying one's own social group and the concept of "good"), but in summary : you know how according to Nuland and her clique Putin "does not understand how the world works" ? This is because in the fantasy world Nuland and her clique inhabits, Putin breaking off both Obama's arms and beating him over the head with them for being a stupid nigger is simply something that can not happen. When it does in fact happen, as it did over Syria, as it did over the Ukraine, and so on and so forth, the way Nuland and her clique express the cleavage between objective reality and the fantasy they would like to continue inhabiting is... "Putin doesn't know how the world works", which readily reduces to "Putin is living in a different and irreconcilable fantasy world", which happens to be both true and rather banal, which is how a nobody with no power and no freedom got to say it in the first place. [↩]
- But it's correctly linked, which is a great prop for her. Except meanwhile CNN decided to fuck up its website and so "The requested URL /galleries/2010/moneymag/1004/gallery.Money_100.moneymag/40.html doesn't lead to anything anymore". [↩]
- That nonsensical creation of the mid 00s, born out of the ambition of Business school undegrads to "target" and the reality that the only even vaguely passible UGC (cheapest filler there can be had online) lives on forums. To quote Samuel Clemens,
This Tennessee land had been in the possession of the family many years, and promised to confer high fortune upon us some day; it still promises it, but in a less violent way.
On the whole Roughing It is good reading for the (young and naive) sort of mind that'd seriously contemplate becoming rich at the business of this nonsense. Unlike most everything written "on the topic" by contemporaneous derps, at least that's good reading. [↩]
- Paul Graham explains somewhere the Ponzi scam that put Yahoo on the map, where people would raise money, buy Yahoo advertising, which created the impression that "the Internet" is happening, keeping the money flowing, from "investors" into Yahoo's bank accounts, through the mediation of
entrepreneurschump transporters. Somehow Graham omits the actually ethical considerations of his part in all of that, as an actual employee of the ponzi scheme. Because that's not what "ethical" means, you know ? [↩]
I got a call yesterday from a little film company down here in the valley, and they’re doing the packaging for Warner Brothers on Babylon Five, which I worked on. I did a very long, very interesting on-camera interview about the making of Babylon Five early on. So she calls me and she tells me they’d like to use it on the DVD, and can that be arranged?
And I said, “Absolutely, all you gotta do is pay me,” and she said, “What?” And I said, “You gotta pay me!”
She said, “Well, everybody else is, just, you know, doing it for nothing.”
I said, everybody else may be an asshole, but I’m not.” I said. “By what right would you call me and ask me to work for nothing? Do you get a paycheck?”
I says, “Does your boss get a paycheck? Do you pay the Telecity guy? Do you pay the cameraman? Do you pay the cutters? Do you pay the Teamsters when they schlep your stuff on the trucks? Then how—don’t you pay—would you go to a gas station and ask them to give you free gas? Would you go to the doctor and have him take out your spleen for nothing? How dare you call me and want me to work for nothing!”
“Well, it would be good publi—”
“Lady, tell that to someone a little older than you who has just fallen off the turnip truck. There is no publicity value in my interview being on your DVD. If you sell 2000 of them, it’ll be great. And what are people gonna say? ‘Oooo, I really like the way that guy gave that interview! I wonder if he’s ever written a book? Lemme go and buy the—’”
There’s no publicity value! The only value for me is if you put money in my hand. Cross my palm with silver, then you can use my essay.
And she says, “well, alright, thank you,” and she hangs up. I’ll never hear from her.
They want everything for nothing. They wouldn’t go for five seconds without being paid. And they’ll bitch about how much they’re paid, and want more. I should do a freebie for Warner Brothers? What, is Warner Brothers out with an eye patch and a tin cup on the street? Fuck, no. They always want the writer to work for nothing. And the problem is that there’s too goddamned many writers who have no idea that they’re supposed to be paid every time they do something. They do it for nothing! Look at me, I’m gonna be noticed! You tell me, are they any less the media whore than am I? I think not, it’s just that nobody’s offered to buy their soul. I sell my soul, but at the highest rates. I don’t take a piss without getting paid for it.
I get so angry about this because you’re undercut by all the amateurs. It’s the amateurs who make it tough for the professionals. Because when you act professional, these people are so used to getting it for nothing, to mooching, and to being able to pass off this bullshit, and they don’t even send you a copy of the DVD!
You have to call them and say, “Where’s the DVD?”
And they say, “Well it’s been out, you know you could go to the store and buy it—”
You go to the store and buy it, motherfucker. You send me the goddamned DVD or I’m gonna come to your studios, to your offices, and I’m gonna burn it to the ground, how about that?
- 918 tickets claim : based on their published claim that their "98% claim" is based on a survey of 814 Varsity Tutors clients conducted during 2011. So logically... [↩]
- This is important. "Social media", that thing of the mid to late 2000s, is dead. Yeah, even if you only recently heard about it being "a big thing". Generally that's how it works, the Yukon gold rush was over just about the time random middle aged accountants started "thinking seriously about it", Paris was falling over just about when Henry Miller got there and so on. Way of the world. [↩]
Me and some guys from school had a band and we tried real hard
Jimmy quit, Jody got married I shoulda known we'd never get far
Oh when I look back now that summer seemed to last forever
And if I had the choice ya - I'd always wanna be there
Those were the best days of my life.