Thursday, October 11, 2012

How Famous People Become Associated With Phrases In Searches: Romney and "Completely Wrong"

Today's lesson in how things happen on the Internet: just because a picture comes up in a Google search for some embarrassing phrase doesn't mean that folks are manipulating search algorithms to make that person look bad.
Romney and the "completely wrong"; images and searches

Stories about Romney's admission of being "completely wrong" lead to Romney coming up in searches for "completely wrong"
Could it be because he said the phrase?
In fact, it might just mean that the person's famous and in a recent statement said that phrase. Like, oh, maybe admitting to being "completely wrong" about something. And the media thought that was a big deal and put the phrase in a bunch of headlines of stories that included the person's image. And a large number of web sites linked to those stories about the use of the phrase by that person.

Voila! Suddenly an image search for the phrase brings up the images of a famous person whose saying of that phrase became very, very public. That's how it works. No manipulation; just fame.

But then for bonus points, articles written by various reporters who've been tasked with churning out something about the phenomenon but don't have much time to research or understanding of how it works will swoop in. It sounds all technical and they're not sure how it happened, so they'll write up stories talking about manipulation of search algorithms figuring surely that would explain it ... after all, they don't know how it happened. Never mind Occam's razor and that there's a more simple explanation that comes up in the non-image search results, at least before reporters start writing about the phenomenon of the search results.

No comments:

Post a Comment