As Data has Evolved.
The Directoric Era
In the beginning was the DirectoryÂ and the internet was flat and was without form. Order was forced upon chaos as the Giants of Alta Vista, Lycos and Yahoo listed, categorised, prioritised and hierarchically stored a reference to the wild web sites upon the net. Websites learnt to be interesting to readers and useful to visitors and in doing so they were well received and audited upon the Web Directories.
The Extinction Event.
Then came Google, and like a deadly pathogen within a monoculture it swept across the net and rewrote the definition of order. It laid bare the DNA of your a website and and considered each genome and combinatory placement of “words” as they related to a website and how they related to other websites. Google learnt, it adapted, it grew and it consumed and eventually was a platform in its own right.
Websites now desperate for attention changed their focus from content and contribution and instead vied for attention within Googlespace by attempting to fine tune their presentation , their wording , their very DNA was focussed to appease the Google. Websites through the ministrations of Search engine optimisers learnt tricks to survive. Keywords, Meta Data, Cloned Microsites, Repetition, Recreation any thing that enabled them to be “interesting to Google” they fought amongst themselves for dominance in the field of First page and best rank. They sought readers and interest by way of approval of Google. Google grew fat and grew well through this focussed feeding.
The Rise of Content Management
Websites soon learnt that the process of feeding and appeasing Google could be automated and standardised. By utilising Content Management Systems they could remove the need to restyle and recreate important keyphrases to be acceptable to Google. In using a Content managment system a website could be created and managed and maintained whilst ensuring that content was made accesible to Google for inspection.
Diversity Upon the Net
As the Internet grew and the speeds with which data could be generated and consumed so the importance of categorisation such as Articles, Pictures, Music and Video grew. Websites needed a new way to categorise , sort and identify structures of information within itself. Where file names and web addresses proved intangible and limited by location so Tags were evolved as Websites began to generate their own meta data with which to sort and define elements within their domain. Out of this more sites have evolved to consume that information and enable authors to sort and manage their data according to their requirements.
The New Community
As human interaction and communication spawned ever faster across the web so it was ever easier to use the readers own contributions to diversify and create content within the websites. Enabling readers to share information between websites and to categorise, by way of Tagging, that information. Large amounts of “ready sorted” data was made available and remashed ready for consumption. In doing so these new communities are sidestepping a dependency on Google as they arrange their information. They are using the combined power of the reader and the authors to create and manage and share the very content that Websites sought to distribute. Smart Websites have returned to focussing on content for the reader, the consumer, the audience. Smart websites are creating conversations and are attracting attention by allowing users to share data between themselves without need for website links or new websites.
Google is being forced to adapt, to integrate this new contribution into its own sorting algorithms, or find itself at an evolutionary dead end as data, the component that drives the content of the internet, seeks new ways to express it self and be consumed.
Throughout this process it might appear the adaptive and growing organisms are the websites and web applications but instead it appears that it is the Data itself that is forcing sites and applications to change and recreate in order to become expressed.
The Next Step ?
Well, thats up to you.
Thanks for reading, thanks for consuming, thanks for letting this data escape !
Dude… in the beginning was The Command Line!
Outside of that, nice post! 🙂
You read and re read and read again and then . Well Red Wine sets in .
Its Corrected . I think !
thank you !
excellent article, you managed to sum it all up very indeed. Thanks for putting it out there 🙂
There is an entirely different side of this entire topic. Do you remember DMOZ, the open directory project where people would find webpages on specific topics and index them in person.
Things have evolved quite a bit since then. We now find that it’s through technorati and many other websites that we are indexing on an individual level.
Teams are also aggregating content. Take a look at digg and the user generated selection of content of relevance (although superficial in nature).