SEO and Irish Pubs

I recently attended a talk given by David McWilliams where he explained his economic theory based on Irish pubs and I was reading about the Irish connection to the birth of the internet and this naturally got me thinking about Irish pubs and SEO. Websites and Irish pubs are recognisable formats for information transfer. Both attempt to make you feel like you are in the right place at the right time. Both are trusted as authoritive(-ish) sources that generate repeat visits. Both create additional hard-to-pin-down qualities (the aboutness of a website and the “craic” in a pub). Both use complicated algorithms to satisfy information queries (pagerank and the process where the most trusted result to my question about who will win the 3:45 at Cheltenham will probably come from the person that shares the most amount of drinks with me). So, as St Patrick said to the pagan while explaining the holy trinity – Let’s break this shit down.

Internal Factors
Irish pubs have a recognisable design known the world over. It will have a name over the door, a drinks counter, local characters, and places where you can rest (anything from polished wooden stools to planks on beerkegs). Likewise, websites use HTML to create pleasing visual resting places. They usually have head tags, title tags, body tags and header tags to help the visitor feel like they are at a trustworthy establishment. Layout and architecture are also important in both, as they need to be easily navigable and I know from personal experience that people move differently when in pubs and on websites. Irish pubs have niche areas where visitors get a more specific experience (the snug, the counter, the music corner, the hallway out to the toilets, old Jimmy’s chair) and it is a good idea to inform new visitors about them to help them find their way around. Site speed is also a factor. When there are large amounts of visitors in a pub, load-time can send people out the door.

Irish Pub of the Week #7

<title>O’ DONOHUE’S</title>
Image Credit – National Library of Ireland


Irish pubs are known for being full of conversation, or content. That content is best served in a natural way, using the language that a visitor is familiar with. Similarly, the content of a website needs to be relevant to a visitors needs. There is no point having content based on sport if your visitors are looking for music. That will lead to a high bounce rate (someone sticking their head in the door, having a quick scan, and moving on down the road to the next pub) and will reduce the time spent on site. If you see this happening, have a look at why it is happening.

External Factors
Although Irish pubs appear to be self contained locations, in reality they are more like hubs or crossroads in a community. Connections run into them at the speed of a rumour. Irish pubs are defined by their links, and because of the diaspora they usually have backlinks coming from all over the world to them. Some of them can be high quality links like Barack Obama, but equally important are the number of neighbourhood links. These measure the popularity of the pub to the local community. So, if the local butcher or the GAA hero frequents the pub, you can be sure that it is a relevant place. This endorsement is vital for Irish pubs. Unlike British pubs, which are owned by corporate conglomerates, Irish pubs have owners. This brings with it an element of trust that the visitor can count on. The same logic applies to a website.
Of course, Irish pubs are famous for being social communities. They are frequented by social referrers whose primary behaviour is interaction, engagement and sharing. Like a website, time spent on site is usually a good indicator of a satisfying experience. However it could also flag that there is a problem with visitors getting stuck or lost there. Unfortunately, this can often happen. When the social referrers are in tune with relevant content we get that unique irish phenomenon called “the craic”. This is the holy grail of most websites – user generated content, or as it is known in marketingland, earned media. Irish pubs have different types of social referrers. You get the local businessman who just wants to relax after a hard weeks work (Facebook), the gossiper who flits from conversation to conversation picking up and dropping titbits (Twitter), the outspoken argumentative one who has seen it all (YouTube), the one who looks at the past through rosy coloured glasses (Instagram), the son of the owner who tries to be part of every group (Google Plus), the nerdy one in the corner reading a book (Tumblr) and the one who falls asleep and get his face drawn on by his friends (Snapchat). The combination of all these factors creates what is known to web developers as personalisation, and what is known to Irish pub-goers as “the local”.

Patrick Sullivan's Bar

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Google Plus, Tumblr and Snapchat..
and a dog pretending to be someone
Image Credit – National Library of Ireland


So, for the day that is in it, Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit!

Digital Romance

Image taken from page 605 of '[Love Lyrics and Valentine Verses, for young and old. [E. M. Davies. With illustrations.]]'

This morning my feed was full of Valentines. Everything from cupcakes to a couple buried together in ancient Italy for romantic archaeologists. It got me thinking about romance on the internet. Specifically, the history of it, how it works and how it affects us. Of necessity, this will dip into sex but I am deliberately avoiding that as it would need a seperate blogpost.

Heart-shaped box
Technology promises freedom. Communication technology promises access. It connects people with information and people with people. In the old days you had to go to a brothel to look at erotica or to a temple to look at carvings. Now it can come to you. After the bible, romantic “fiction” was the next genre that drove the adoption of the printing press. In the 1800s, the telegraph was used for long-distance romance. In 1848, the first “online” wedding too place between a bride in Boston and a groom in New York. In the 20th century the car was the biggest technological advance which brought people together unsupervised. Those of us who still carry the light of the pre digital world will remember when contacting your loved one meant using a phone to ring the actual building where they lived and being put through to an adult guardian first. Amazingly, this worked surprisingly well.

Soldier's goodbye & Bobbie the cat, Sydney, ca. 1939-ca. 1945 / by Sam Hood

Information Behaviour
I come from generations of people that lived and died within the same geographical sod of land in a valley. People accessed information about other people through traditional gate-keepers. In some cases, this was a formal matchmaker. In other cases, the social system acted as a limit to how people met. Usually people found partners through school or work or friends of friends, like Google Plus on a local level. That would have been fine if those pesky kids just stopped progressing. We are now living in a world where geography does not have the same limit and where online social interaction is the norm. In our constantly-on world of status updates it is like we are communicating in the same place at the same time.

Information Retrieval
Online dating has exploded as a result of this. I have friends of a certain age who would have viewed online dating as a sad fad for the socially inept, but they now use online dating as easily as they used to pop into the pub to see who was out on a friday night. The stigma is gone. While the media like to focus on scare stories of stalkers and people who assume false identities (this happens offline too!), I know more and more people who met online and are happy. Like Google, you now have the ability to retrieve more relevant matches based on your search parameters and the playing field is wide open. Most dating sites use data to see who we are compatible with. Very efficient and scientific, if that is what you are looking for.

Unlimited Access
Not only can we find people that we were never able to before, we can also find more information about people. The problem with access to all this information is that we now have too much choice. Privacy is also another concern. While you can be more open and visible now (which is an essential part of relationships), there is more of a danger of your information being used against you. Sexting is an example of this as it gives rise to cyberbullying, blackmail and public shame. If this were purely a problem for unthinking young people it would be just a case of teaching them online etiquette. Unfortunately, according to a recent report by McAfee, 49% of adults have sent naked images of themselves to others.

Two women boxing

Death of Distance
While online dating is an obvious example of how the internet has impacted on romantic, there are numerous platforms that allow people to explore relationships. Since the internet started, forums have been one of the main ways for people to connect and form communities of interest. They offer opportunities for people with niche interests to meet. They allow people to share about relationships issues in a very positive and educational way while also guarding anonymity. Snapchat was set up to counter the idealised online identity that many of us have on the internet. Posting nude pictures of yourself that self-destruct would probably achieve this. Chatroulette is something similar, an online chatroom that pairs strangers with random partners for web based conversations. It used to be was the hunting ground of young males until they introduced skin based filters and moderators which could block some of the more less salubrious material. Twitter has long ago had its first tweeted proposal and I remember one year sending my other half a facebook ad targetted specifically at her for Valentines Day (It didn’t work because she installed an ad-blocker!). Blogs are no stranger to being used for love. Research has shown that they are often used to allow people to create elaborate online fantasies. As the internet went mobile, so did romance with the use of location based apps such as Grindr and Blendr taking dating to the hyperlocal level.

Visit of the Chancellor of the University of London, HRH Princess Anne to the School, 8 May 1986

While I have only touched on a few aspects of online romance, we can see that it is alive and well in the internet age, driven by algorithms and desire. The question is will it add to our relationships or will it turn us into more isolated individuals.

Image taken from page 48 of 'Loving and Loth: a novel. By the author of “Rosa Noel,” etc. [Bertha De Jongh.]'

Online Travel

It is January. You are online checking to see where you will go during the Summer and you are reading the live tweets of a honey badger. Welcome to the 21st century. This is how the internet has changed travel and tourism.

Live Tweeting in the Zoo

Everyday I’m badgering

The impact of technology on society
Like the internet, tourism is a particularly 20th century phenomenon. Until the 1950s, jetting about was the perogative of the wealthy. As airplane technology changed, travel became more accessible. Airline Reservation Systems were created to manage information that was previously processed by humans. Like the defense industry, the use of computers allowed a network system to develop into what were known as Computer Reservation Systems. These developed into Global Distribution Systems such as Amadeus and Galileo in the 80s, allowing local travel agents to check real-time flight schedules, availability and prices. They could make bookings and issue tickets. I remember making the journey from North London to Ilford to a particular travel agent who could guarantee me a flight home at Christmas. It was a time consuming and complicated process but it was the only way of getting a flight without going directly to the airport.

Remington Rand Computer  : Consolidated/Convair Aircraft Factory San Diego Equipment

Image Credit – SDASM Archives
Creative Commons
Early Travel Agent

The travel industry was perfectly placed to take advantage of the internet in the 90s. It was already set up to solve logistical problems and it involved information management, PR, customer service and sales. Airlines began to reduce the need for travel agents, although there will always be a need for gatekeepers. Online Travel Agents took advantage of better information flows to present different travel options. Websites provided 24/7 access, multichannel contact, online support and a constantly improving user experience. In return they got consumer information. Online Tourism was central to this change through the use of professional reviews and User Generated Content.

The impact of society on technology
Like other areas effected by the internet, it was online behaviour that changed things. Tourists search for information for different reasons and at different times. Most of us use the internet to research an upcoming trip. We look for inspiration. We read reviews and blogs or read the tweets of honey badgers to get a feel for a place. We check the weather channel for real time reviews of our destinations. Geomapping services like Google Maps and Google Street View allow us to get more enhanced information and actually view places before visiting. Moving from research to purchase involves the building of trust. No-one likes to hand over credit card details for that hotel which looks beautiful in the brochure but which could be next to a building site. This is where clever companies set themselves apart from others by creating content that is authoritative, useful and engaging.

Once we get there, we check in on location based services such as Yelp and Foursquare to find where to eat. We use specific apps such as Tripit Travel Organiser to make travelling easier. We have cabs pick us up using Hailo. Pinpin ATM Finder directs us to the nearest cashpoint. Tube Exits tell us which carriage to get on so we can off as close to our exit as possible. Cultural tourism providers are aware of the power of sharing and places like the Rijkse Museum attract travellers by sharing their content online. Even in Ireland, we have our own live tweeting giraffe called Spotticus in the Natural History Museum. What do we do when we return home? We upload our pics to Facebook. We become broadcasters ourselves. While there are many reasons why people choose to communicate the benefits of locations to other travellers, the result is more information which feeds back into someone elses holiday research.

Herbert George Ponting and telephoto apparatus, Antarctica, January 1912

Image Credit – NZ National Library
Creative Commons
Early instagram

Where to next?
So where do you see the travel industry changing as a result of technology in the future? Do you go offline on holidays or do you use location based technology to discover more relevant experiences? My feeling is that there will be an increase in holidays finding me rather than the other way around. Social and User Generated Content is definitely here to stay, but the big growth right now is in M-Commerce. This is not surprising. Travel is all about mobility. The ease of paying online through smart phones is what consumers are looking for. As internet penetration grows and demographics change, mobile usage will follow. Trust in M-commerce will develop just as it did in early online travel.

Digital Recipe

In this post I am going to share with you my tried and trusted recipe for creating a blogging editorial calendar for the year ahead. Whether you are a multinational giant or a multitasking mommy blogger, this involves a creative process. You will be creating content out of thin air, mixing mediums and producing digital sizzle. It will not take long. Any longer than two hours and it will be overcooked.
Let’s go!

Church & Co.

Image Credit – Miami Digital Collections
Creative Commons

1. Who are you cooking for?
This is the hardest part of the process and the one that most people want to skip because they think that their content will suit anyone who arrives at the table. Even if you blog for yourself (which a lot of people do), creating the same content over and over usually gets bland. If you have a blog already, you know who usually turns up. I suggest you create personas for them. Give them names. Research them as much as you can. Stick pictures of them on the wall, with quotes. Be a regular stalker host.

Verklede gasten aan de feestdis in een van de Parijse ateliers / Costumed guests at the banquet in one of the Parisian studios

Image Credit – Nationaal Archief
Creative Commons

2. Gather your main ingredients
Create a list of at least 5 topics that your readers are interested in. For example, for a tourism blog, they might be landscape, activities, off the beaten track, culture, food, etc. Throw them all into the pot. These are the basic flavours that you will be working with.

Fruit Venders, Indianapolis Market, aug., 1908. Wit., E. N. Clopper.  Location: Indianapolis, Indiana. (LOC)

Image Credit – Library of Congress
Creative Commons

3. Apply heat or pressure
Use questions to stir the topics. Each topic should be broken down into at least 5 smaller pieces. For example, what is it about each topic that your readers are interested in? What problems or concerns do they have about them? What are the trends relating to these topics. Why do some people like these topics and others make that face like they just bit a lemon?

4. Add your sizzle
Now put your own ideas in. What is coming up in the next year that you are interested in? Any conferences, any marketing pushes, new products coming out? What do you want to blog about? This part is about your interests. Yes, we want to hear about you. Not on and on, but if you have something of value to bring to the table, now is the time to add it. This will keep your marketing team/accountant/ego happy and create a few more posts.

5. Think about service
You added the sizzle so do not forget about the style. Or the sizzle will sozzle. This is what separates the cooks from the chefs. Would you serve a soup with chopsticks? Would you put the heirloom cutlery out for burgers? In the heat of the creative moment we can rush to get the food on the table.
A blogpost can be served in a particular way. They can be textual, audio-visual, mixes, lists, guest posts, recaps, reviews, how-tos, best ofs and opinions. There are probably more ways too. What is the best way to frame your content? Thinking about this often creates fantastic new content. It can transform a dry bloated information piece into something that jumps off the screen and flies.

Met de slee van de springschans / Sleigh leaving ski-jump

Image Credit – Nationaal Archief
Creative Commons

6. Timing
Just like any kitchen exercise, timing is everything. So too with blogging. Get your calendar out and assign each post to where it will be most effective.

Voila, you have an annual blogging calendar that is tied into your marketing objectives/personal creative desires. You have just gone from the dread of creating content to having the bones of at least 25 crafted specialities for the year ahead. You have a work schedule. You have ideas. You have sizzle, and you still have time to add in your on-the-fly pieces.

All that is left is the writing, and that is the fun part.

"USE LEFTOVERS... "

Image Credit – US National Archives
Creative Commons

Journey of Boann

This is a location based story that I have designed as part of storymooc. It is aimed at kayakers and water tourists on the river Boyne, who will use the route once it becomes part of the National Trails. The trail will allow kayakers to float through the Boyne Valley, past castles and ruins. You download an app with the game on it and each scene is triggered by GPS and will have augmented reality characters moving the story along. The distance involved is about 15 miles and will take about 2.5 hours to complete. The first GPS point introduces us to Boanne before we embark on the water.

Boann

Boann

1. My name is Boann. I am the goddess of the valley. A long time ago I lived here with the king. The king had a magic well which contained the salmon of knowledge that fed on the acorns of wisdom. No women were allowed to go near the well, but I was curious, so I disobeyed the order. As soon as the salmon felt my presence they attacked me, chasing me to the sea, and that is how the Boyne came to flow through the valley. They think that I am gone, but I am just hiding, waiting for someone with the knowledge to release me. If you follow the river, you will find plenty of knowledge, but be careful as there will be red herrings along the way to slow us down. You need to find three magical objects. They represent those who work, those who fight and those who pray. You will need all three to release me. Good luck.
By the way, the first clue will be at a warrior on a horse.

Mael Seachnaill

Mael Seachnaill

2. My name is Meal Seachnaill. I was the King of Meath. I defeated the Vikings and became the King of Ireland after Brian Ború. But I am not here to talk about myself. You want to find Boann don’t you? First, let me tell you about a legendary queen associated with this spot. Her name was Maeve. It was said that she was a fierce warrior. In front of us here, you can see that the river is low. When Maeve crossed the river on her way to fight the King of Ulster, it was here where she crossed. The town was named after the fording point and her crossing was the first record of the town which grew up around here. I have her sword here. You should take it with you. Follow the river to the wooden bridge and disembark for a while there. You may find someone who can give you some information which will help you more.

1532 - celtic sword-8

War Object

3. My name is William Rowan Hamilton. I suppose you have never heard of me? Nobody knows about me. I lived just there in Talbot Castle. No, not that ruin, the one beside it. There are so many ruins here. It was here that I studied as a child. I was a bit of child genius I will have you know. Chess champion, fluent in twelve languages by the age of ten, Professor of astronomy by the age of 19. Nobody remembers though. I invented quarternions. Quarternions! Oh for heavans sake! It is like talking to one of those medieval serfs from Fraunces Weir. Mathematical formula that are used by NASA to turn spaceships in orbit! Anyway, I am wasting my time. You want to know about Boann? Well, you have come to the right place. Did you know that Boann comes from the Gaelic mBó Ann, meaning the white cow. No, of course you didn’t know that. How would you know the significance of the White Cow, with your smart phones and and your google? The White Cow is the Milky Way, the stars that float above your head at night. The ancient Irish believed that the Boyne was a mirror image of the stars. Quite clever of them actually. At least they paid some attention to the sky. Now, I must go. I have experiments to carry out. I am sorry, I cannot be of anymore assistance. You are obviously too simple too see the significance of what I have just told you. Try the workers down at Fraunces Weir. Good day to you!

William Rowan Hamilton

Sheldon Cooper? Never heard of him

4. Ah, how is it going? You must be here because you figured out that old Hamilton is not much use to you. Head in the clouds that man. Too clever for his own good. This here is Fraunces Weir. The river used to come in here, channeled in a mill race to power mills. From here down to the ruins of Newtown was all mills. Tuck mills, flour mills, pottery kilns, you name it, we had it here. This was the industrial part of the town and it was all powered by the river. We had big wheels turning, stones grinding seeds, paddles beating cloths and not a bit of that old electricity you have today. This was original, whatyamacallit, hydro power. Anyways, you will be needing this on your travels. It is a quern-stone. Let me give you some advice. You see that big old ruin further down on the left? It is called Newtown Cathedral. If you are looking for a place of prayer connected with a woman you would be wise to check that ruin out. There is a little old church in there, all deserted like, and in the middle is a big old tomb, the likes of which you never saw, with a statue of a woman on it. Check it out.

Fraunces Weir

Fraunces Weir

Medieval Serfs

Whatyamacallit

vk_quern_stone

Work Object

5. Greetings kind travellers, I see that you are curious about my wonderful tomb. Isn’t it exquisite? My name is Lady Jane Bathe and I was married to Lucas Dillon, the attorney general of Ireland to Queen Elizabeth the first. You can see that relief carved on the base of the tomb which shows our wedding day. You see both of our hands on the bible, making our vows, and our families standing behind us. That was such a memorable day, apart from the rain. Can you see the sculptures on the lid of the tomb? Have you ever seen anything like them? Lucas spared no expense. He was like that. Don’t I look fine in my Elizabethan gown? I have to say, Lucas does looks dashing in his armour. Not that he ever wore armour. Lucas was more into politics and money than battle. I do wish that he didn’t put that sword between us though. That was uncalled for. He could have had us holding hands as was the custom. A sword is so cold and harsh to have between man and wife, isn’t it? I do think he would have forgiven me for my affair though. At least in death. Lucas could be spiteful at times. It is like he wants to make me suffer for eternity. I am sorry that I do not have a more spiritual story, but there was no love here. If you are looking for a real place of prayer, I would suggest Bective Abbey further downriver. If you find it, make sure that you look for a carving on one of cloister columns. It is very interesting. Much better than a sword.

Jealous Man and Woman

Jealous Man and Woman Tomb

Bective Abbey

Bective Abbey

6. You made it. Thank you. Welcome to my abbey. It was dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the 13th century but it is where I have hidden for all these years. As you can see from the carving on the wall, I have hidden in the fleur-de-lis to represent those that work, those that fight and those that pray. Now, time for a spot of salmon dinner.

Irish Aesthete

Prayer Object

Starfleet Analytics

startrek

Deep Space Analytics

Welcome Space Cadet, to Starfleet Federation Analytics training.
Open up your analytics packages. Yes, they look confusing. No, you cannot break them. Yes, you must learn to use them or you will not get the Enterprise off the ground.
Our analytics package are mission geared and driven by logic. If the two are not connected you get data leak, not warp drive.

Before you press any buttons, start with your mission. All Starfleet spaceships have a mission. We do not fly randomly about the universe. Your mission can be ecommerce, lead generation, content publishing, support or branding. Each mission has different goals. It is your job to fly through the universe on your mission and report back to Earth as you go along. Let us look at how Kirk and his team might have managed their missions.

Ecommerce

Usually you will want to beam objects down to people who want them. Now, Kirks goal will be to increase sales, increase unique visits and increase profits. He doesn’t really care how this happens. Spock on the other hand has no interest in that. He just wants to track the data to see exactly how it is happening. So he will break Kirks’ desires down into the most hyper relevant logical signals or KPIs. Someone has to ensure that the mission is on course and they are not just floating about in space. On this mission, he will be observing monthly revenue, monthly unique visitors and profit. Uhuru will connect Spocks choices with targets so they can see keep an eye on their speed/direction. So she may be keeping an eye on the actual changes in numbers and percentages as the mission progresses. Should Kirk need any other help, he can also segment the information further. For example, he could ask Bones to run a paid search scan on it or he could check with Scotty to break it down by location. Finally Kirk will report back to Federation Command.

Set your mission goals

Set your mission goals

Lead Generation

If this mission, Kirk may decide to capture contact emails for a newsletter and to beam down the user a webinar. Spock would probably identify newsletter conversions and signups as KPIs. Uhuru would set monthly targets and further segmentation may be traffic source and gender (because Kirk would probably like to know that).

Captain, I detect lots of win in this sector

Captain, I detect lots of win in this sector

Content Publishing

This mission may be to publish a blog. In this case, Kirk would probably want to engage other lifeforms and ensure frequent and prosperous visits. Spock may be interested in observing returning visitors, audience engagement rates and perhaps if people were sharing the content through social channels. Uhuru would again set monthly targets to observe fluctuations and the reports could then be further segmented by possibly looking at keyword source.

Set clear targets

Set clear targets

Support

Perhaps the mission is to act as online support for lifeforms needing assistance. Kirks’ objective here would be to help them as quickly as possible. Spock might choose to observe the time on site and the number of page views as this would tell him what he needed to know. Both of these should be low for a support mission. Uhuru should be able to keep an eye on how they are doing over time. Again further segmentation would be provided by looking at number of visits for each user.

Did he ask for the dilithium chamber at maximum?

Did he ask for the dilithium chamber at maximum?

Branding

Finally you could be on a branding mission, to increase Federation loyalty and counteract the klingons. In this case, Kirk might want to back up the offline branding from the banners located on the moons in the Delta quadrant and engage with the community there. Spock will probably observe through his KPIs of branded traffic and bounce rate. Uhuru will keep track of the metrics on the visits to the Enterprise site and further segmentation can be given through number of conversions and days since visit.

startrek560

Live Long and Prosper

Apologies and thanks to Avinash Kaushiks’ Digital Framework

Created as part of my digital marketing course

Two Tribes

In my last role, I was the digital media officer of an education organisation. After the interview process, I asked them for some feedback on my application. They said that I got the position because of the range of skills that I brought with my library degree. They said that they wanted someone to help with information dissemination. What they meant was digital marketing. Information professionals (the new word for librarians) and marketers are not the strangest of bedfellows. Here are a few things they have in common.

1. Information Users

imuserfriendly_large

Both marketers and information professionals are in the business of dealing with users. Whereas traditional marketers concentrated on their product or their brand, digital marketing is all about segmentation. This is the practice of targeting messages at particular demographics. Because demographics famously do not buy products, personas are created from market research and user interviews. They include everything from possible quotes to phone choice. This sort of research is second nature for librarians.

2. Information Skills

As part of my library degree I had to study information behaviour, web publishing, web 2.0, digital media and information design. As part of my digital marketing course, I have to cover digital strategy, analytics, social media and User Experience. Librarians are primarily looking to create an engaged relationship between their users and their information. Marketers have a more focused objective – to track the exchange of value between the user and the information and to drive sales.

kid_300

3. Information Technology

Both professions have changed as a direct result of technology. Traditionally, marketers didn’t exist as a separate profession until the industrial revolution. Without choice, there was no need to market anything. As mass production arrived, marketing operated on a broadcast basis for the huge numbers of products that were churned out. Mass media was the way forward. In the 1990s the internet arrived and with it search engine marketing. Social marketing then transferred the power to the user. The information profession exploded as a result of the printing press (mass produced information) in the 15th century and then followed the same trajectory as marketing from the 20th century onwards.

4. Social Information

Changes in information technology have social consequences for users. Information channels move away from interruption and towards participation. Users become media owners and co-creators of digital objects. The mass market becomes fragmented and developed into communities, tribes and niches. Marketers have to follow the crowd. Once upon a time, libraries were closed off and inaccessible to everyone except the elite. In a public library today there are knitters, children, researchers and homeless people coming in out of the cold armed with smart phones that can access complete catalogues. Future projections for both professions are looking at the semantic web, where personalised information will find the user.

5. Information Design

In a world that is cluttered with information and where the old means of communication are disrupted, it is important that there are few obstacles between the message and the user. Marketers know that people base their choices mostly on emotion, and they often get accused of manipulation because of this. They invest heavily in the visual design of the message. Librarians, at first glance, prefer logic but they too rely heavily on the emotions. One of the main theories of information design is Gestalt theory which explains how the rational side of the brain post-reasons what is happening with our emotions when we view information.

Font choice is important

Font choice is important


At present, I find myself with a foot in both camps. Luckily, both professions have been listed here in the top 10 most useful college degrees to have.