Imagine putting all our personal and cultural references in a large jar: photographs, books, notes, stories, poems, birthday and Christmas greeting cards, drawings made by our children when they were little and so on and so forth.
Imagine that, just after filling the jar to the top, we realize that the mouth of the jar is a bit tight, and therefore we can pull out only one object at a time. At this point we have to overcome the impasse and establish a picking rule, otherwise all our valuable objects will become unreachable.
Well, this is what happened on the Internet! Network has become our multimedia knowledge container, but not only that. So, while we were putting our information into the global container, we discovered that without the appropriate tools for research and without a network of relationship, the information was often unreachable. After all, how many times in the past the treasure map has been lost and with it the hidden treasure?
Today’ success of a search engine is a direct consequence of its ability to collect and display information from the network, which means, as I metaphorically mentioned above, to have the jar completely full. The search engine has to show this information in a logical sequence, but above all, it has to guess the user’s request basing its research on the few terms received from the user.
The increase number of information along with the increase number of people on network have placed on top the best web search engines, able to satisfy our demands less than in a few instants. Over the top are placed the “algorithms“ as well as methods of calculation, everything designed by man and ran obsessively by computer. Computer able to judge by itself the information spread on network.
Among these algorithms probably the most famous is the “pagerank“. This algorithm is able to attach different importance to internet web pages according to their popularity, or, rather to the number of sites relative to these pages. Higher will be the number of sites that link to “our” web page, greater will be our popularity.
Today there are many other intelligent algorithms that analyze “our” web page from the point of view of contents expounded, from every single term used, from the frequency with which we update our content, from the profundity of navigation expressed by our portal / site / blog, from the interest expressed by the social network, from the cleverness of writing our page (title, subtitle, …), etc …
As happens in the real world, also happens in the virtual world: to reach a high popularity, means hard work. We must be well known by lots of network people therefore clicked, linked, posted, mentioned … And of course, same as in the real world, upkeep our popularity is extremely difficult, that requires efficiency and talent even for the most tenacious ones.
However sometimes the popularity generates further popularity without new strategies application … being on the “front page” means being featured on the “global showcase“, selected and mentioned, and this will increase our ranking, as a result, our new location will bring us to the fore rising our ranking higher and higher.
The popularity on web, the climax of every blogger or writer, dependents on a selection process extremely rational, algorithmic, I dare say similar to that described by Darwin, a process of evolutionary selection, that assigns notoriety to those already famous, but not less interested in new, original, lasting forms of information and culture. We talk about a rational cynical process, unceasingly active, open to innovation, a “mutant”, sometimes complicated sometimes incredibly superficial.
Given these premises, who knows what kind of love will blossom between the ranking algorithms and our culture: a true one or just an ephemeral one?