A while back, I wrote a post asking ScienceBloggers what they thought were successful tactics in the game of initiating forms of viral marketing. The question was primarily posed to ask whether such tricks to be used to promote things of, perhaps more importance (i.e. in the social responsibility context). You know, not Snakes on a Plane, or cool music videos with treadmills.
Anyway, this is what I’ve decided to try. Basically, it’s a chance to create a version of a Truth that can propogate. That’s right – I want to see if I can earn my Time Person of the Year mantle proper.
This was, of course, after weighing in on a number of great posts from the ScienceBlogs community, including:
(Janet) “I think that explains a lot of why cool things (or outrages) propagate so quickly through the series of tubes of the internet. What’s more isolated and sad than someone sitting alone in his or her room typing at the computer? (Someone who leaves her laptop’s power supply somewhere else and runs down her battery — but that’s another story.) We modern folk with computers at at serious risk of becoming the loser in the basement. (To those of you reading from the basement: I’m not talking about you; you’re no loser!)
So we need to build a community. Sharing cool stuff we’ve found is one way to build a community. And, sharing with our community is a way to be reassured the the stuff in which we’re delighting really is cool.”
(RPM) “Something that’s low budget, campy, and so embarrassing you’d never want it to appear on the internet. As a blogger, I know that the posts in which I put in the least amount of effort get the most visits and comments.”
(and of course, Bono): Well, I think if you’re going to focus on the similarities of your three examples, it’s almost as if an inherant goofiness is key for the spreading phenomenon. Mel Gibson drunk? That’s goofy. Zidane with the headbutt? Also goofy. Maybe that’s why something like 0.7% won’t work – can you really make something like that goofy?
Anyway, so what is this truth thing about? Well, it’s actually an attempt at something known as “Google Bombing”. This is where a google search ranking can be influenced over repeated linkage. Here’s how wiki describes it:
A Google bomb is Internet slang for a certain kind of attempt to influence the ranking of a given page in results returned by the Google search engine, often with humorous or political intentions. Because of the way that Google’s algorithm works, a page will be ranked higher if the sites that link to that page use consistent anchor text.
I actually noted this earlier when Googling “Paul” on Google.ca, and getting a result where the number one ranked hit was the URL for Stephen Harper. Mr Harper is the current Prime Minister of Canada, whereas the previous was Paul Martin. I thought this was kind of funny and some sort of prank, but after looking up “Liar” on google and being referred to Tony Blair (this still works by the way), I realized that this must have more to do with algorithms than pranksters. (Incidentally, the most well known google bomb is for “Miserable Failure” – try it).
Anyway, this is what this web experiment is all about. It’s to see if there’s an opportunity to massage a post’s ranking with respect to the term, truth – or at least in the eyes of the all powerful google.
At the very least, check the truth out. I think there are some good points in its current incarnation, but note that the SCQ is not opposed to seeing more (maybe comments below is a good place for suggestions). And, if at its heart, you agree with the statements or are comfortable with this version of the truth, then please link away, link away.
If you want more fuel to do this, currently the number one hit for “Truth” is the Truth Anti-Smoking Campaign, which although is a good cause overall, has some messy admin associated with it, being funded by the Tobacco Industry. For instance:
An interesting stipulation of the settlement agreement is that tobacco companies who initially provided funding reserve the right to pull American Legacy Foundation advertisements off the air if they “vilify” the tobacco companies. Altria Group has twice pulled truth advertisements, citing this clause