Halt and Make Fire

August 10, 2020

Over the past week, I've been studying early internet culture (inspired by Halt and Catch Fire) and it's really made me think about how SEO is structured now compared to back then.

In the early days, it was centred on discovery through search but then major corps transformed the Web into a land of online billboards and while blogging formed an anthesis, that slowly died and now we're hear, writing "content" that is only meaningful if it's over 1,000 words.

Nobody ever asks people (now defined simply as "users") their thoughts on search and the Web. Their assumed behaviour is based on whatever Google tells us and it's algorithms change their interactions rather than the other way around. That's my belief anyway. I don't have the data to prove it.

I look at how people have reacted to COVID-19 and their submission to governments who have openly deceived their citizens. That's leads me to the conclusion that big tech companies can change their realities to make profit and "prove" that what they're doing is innovative and forward thinking. If the user absolves responsibility, you can control them.

So when I blog outside of work, I actively—albeit metaphorically and morally—fight Google. I'll link to whomever I want, keep my content as short or as long as I want, ignoring the possibility of it being regarded as "thin content" (who the fuck are they to call it thin content anyway?) I don't have clients to please. I share things I find interesting and don't let a series of biased algorithms and Big Data tell me what interesting should mean.

This is far from digital anarchism and I wouldn't call my blog posts forms of protest but I certainly feel better for writing what I want than what I think a multi-billion dollar enterprise will index and rank on the first page for a search query.