Seth Godin’s latest ebook, Everyone’s an Expert (On Something) states that the current version of the Web “is about enabling people to share meaning.” The many blogs, customer reviews and online bids are ways that individuals share the meaning they attach to something. Hence, he says, everyone’s an expert about something. His upcoming service, Squidoo will employ that principle.
I’d add to that: Everyone’s a barometer, too.
If the Internet is a place to share meaning, it’s also a market of good will. If lots of people read this blog entry and like it, they’ll link to it. More people will come read it. If they like it, they’ll link to it too. Eventually search engines see this popularity (good will) and move my blog up in the rankings for terms like ‘internet marketing concepts’. Technorati and other folksonomies will start showing this entry more and more, too. Good will snowballs into a larger and larger audience, which begets more good will, and so on.
If lots of people read this blog entry and hate it, they’ll write that, too. Then the snowball effect might send my blog up in the rankings for, say ‘bad marketing‘. Good will cuts both ways, and can become bad will.
Given enough momentum, folks can even deliberately twist the results. ‘Googlebombing’ is now part of the vernacular – the ‘miserable failure‘ listing on Google is now legendary. That listing happened because a lot of people got together and decided to make sure the rankings shook out as they did.
Meaning – how you think of something – is part of the picture. But often there’s a more visceral element, too: Good will – how you feel about something – is a vital part of the picture.
Squidoo’s going to unleash a whole new way of looking at the Internet: A big-picture resource for ideas and facts. But it’s a big-picture resource for opinions, too. And it’s important to separate the two. Otherwise marketers can get ambushed, and end up being the next Miserable Failure.
Everyone’s definitely an expert. Everyone’s a barometer, too.