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Google admits that Plato’s cave doesn’t exist

Here's a podcast of my recent Guardian column, Google admits that Plato's cave doesn't exist:

Google's official communiques tell the world that SEO isn't necessary – so long as you "make great content", you'll get higher rankings. The implication is that Google has discovered a mathematical model of relevance, a way of measuring some objective criteria that allows a computer to score and compare the relevance of different web-pages.

But there is no such mathematics. Relevance is a subjective attribute. The satisfaction you experience in regards to a search-results page is generated by your mind, and it reflects the internal state of your neurons just as much as it reflects the external reality of the results.

A magazine's editor-in-chief looks at her table of contents as it is being formed through the month, moving things around, commissioning new items, deleting things and shifting others to greater prominence.

The judgments she makes are aesthetic ones. They reflect her distinctive expertise and vision for the publication, a vision and expertise that is honed from month to month by feedback from readers and colleagues, sales figures, public review, and pageviews in the online edition. Magazines rise and fall based on their e-i-cs, and a change in leadership can utterly transform the experience of reading the magazine.

Mastering by John Taylor Williams: wryneckstudio@gmail.com

John Taylor Williams is a audiovisual and multimedia producer based in Washington, DC and the co-host of the Living Proof Brew Cast. Hear him wax poetic over a pint or two of beer by visiting livingproofbrewcast.com. In his free time he makes "Beer Jewelry" and "Odd Musical Furniture." He often "meditates while reading cookbooks."

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