Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Search engine serendipity

I idly typed 'jobs for bibliophiles' into google yesterday, and it led me to an entry on an interesting website called which I've now started following. Tagline: 'Living large on a small budget'.

I reluctantly consented to and sat through a sales pitch today from a guy trying to sell keywords so that every time someone types certain words into the search engine on their website, our 'product' comes out on top. So much for democracy, or indeed meritocracy.

But then, there are some types of information that can't be controlled, even by political parties with relatively deep pockets. Watching 'Bigotgate' unfold today, beginning with a Sky News microphone that Mr Brown forgot about, and then attracting tweets, blogs, tv and radio coverage, fed by playback-on-demand, I thought again about how the way we share information is changing, and what an exciting thing it is to think about. What is the best way to write about these phenomena? Perhaps the upcoming event 'Where Does History Happen?' will furnish me with some more tools.

Bigotgate may also, entirely fortuitously, provide a boost for an artist whose 'emotionally charged work ranges from the comic to the forlorn', whose only connection to Mr Brown's gaffe is to share a name with the voter he complained about. Google the name 'Gillian Duffy' and you will probably see near the top of your search results a link to, the artist's website.

Such is the communications world we live in: a Rochdale pensioner is generating the sort of publicity money can't buy, or in Mr Brown's case, bury.

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