Why Google Cares About Social

The Slashdot effect, also known as slashdotting, occurs when a popular website links to a smaller site, causing a massive increase in traffic. The name stems from the huge influx of web traffic that results from the technology news site Slashdot linking to websites. It’s a known phenomena feared by many nerds such as yours truly. Let me show you something:

Ask Slashdot: To AdBlock or Not To AdBlock was me at #2  trolling for clicks. Number one was about Missouri senatorial nominee Todd Akin’s fucked up idea that rape victims don’t get pregnant unless they really want it therefore abortion should be illegal. Yes, the planet we live on is that dumb. Avert your eyes. As I type I’m #1 on that list with 693 comments because older articles get pushed out. I’m too lazy to take another screenshot. Anyway, the thing to take away from this is that a link to my blog appeared on the front page of Slashdot and it was one of the most popular articles of the week. I should have gotten the slashdotting of my life; posted August 21st.

Let me show you something else:

Here, I posted a link to my blog on Reddit. The link got 0 karma and went nowhere. Basically hidden and unseen from most Redditors; posted August 8th.

Let me show you this Google Analytics graphic:

Reddit VS Slashdot

The “Slashdotting” is the 2nd peak. The traffic from Reddit is the 1st peak. O how the mighty have fallen…

Ok, so maybe Slashdot users are tech savvy and paranoid and a large percentage are blocking Google Analytics, but is a subsection of Reddit dedicated to Python programmers that much different?

When Google first launched in the late 90s, the technology that made it superior to everything else was Pagerank. Basically, as seen in this image, given 11 HTML documents the one with the most hyperlinks pointing to it is the best.

But is it the best? The information used to determine “rank” comes from the 11 HTML documents. What about, let’s say, the users reading those 11 documents? If we could track those users couldn’t we get a better rank?

Or, say I could use Google Analytics to determine that a shitty link on Reddit generates twice as much traffic than a front page article on Slashdot wouldn’t that be super important page ranking information for Google, the owner of Google Analytics?

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Google is moving into the “social” space.

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