Friday Talk: Inspirational TED Talks for Search Marketers

Friday Talk: Inspirational TED Talks for Search Marketers

15th February 2013

This post is originally from a year ago, but with the event week in mind we thought it would be a good idea to ‘re-publish’ the post.

There’s been a couple of good posts recently about learning within the field of search engine optimisation, that include resources that can assist those looking to begin or develop their knowledge. It got me thinking about some of my favourite resources for learning and inspiration and I find that time and again, I’m often looking outside of search engine optimisation for a wider perspective. I like to do this because I find that to come up with a search marketing strategy, it helps to keep on top of many different aspects of marketing, technology and creative thinking. Then of course the mechanics of your strategy are informed by your methods of learning and testing within SEO.

In particular I love the TED Talks videos,which are an amazing collection of talks from visionary experts within a number of fields; from Scientists to Astronauts to Movie Directors. Ted is a non-profit organisation which is devoted to what they define as “ideas worth sharing”, the ideas coming from leaders across the fields of Technology, Entertainment and Design (hence TED). I wanted to share some of my favourite talks that I have found personally educational, insightful and most useful in my role as a search marketer.

1. Kevin Slavin: How Algorithms Shape Our World

This is a jaw-droppingly awesome talk about a topic close to our sphere of experience already; however what is really valuable about this talk is just how far and to what level machine algorithms govern so much of our lives today. Algorithms are now an interim stage to many of our cultural habits and consumptions, but the most interesting part of this talk tare the points that remind us we are now writing algorithms that we cannot read; that work at speeds we cannot comprehend and with outcomes we cannot control. In fact as Slavin points out, we are Terra-forming the earth to get algorithms closer to pipes as that 5 microsecond gain in speed (from proximity) means potential revenue gains. Astonishing when you think it apparently takes a human 500,000 microseconds to click a mouse.

2. Charlie Todd: The Shared Experience of Absurdity

Todd gives some fantastic and funny examples of how his ImprovEverywhere group have created funny, poignant and delightful shared experiences out of deliberately juxtaposed absurdities; such as “no pants day” on the metro.  Whilst I’m in no way suggesting that this example should be taken literally as a content idea for your clients, the lesson here is quite simple. Content can be absurd, or uncomfortable, until that human connection is made, and until that human connection is made the content is not effective. At the point at which the unwitting viewers in these examples realise that they are not alone in their observations, there immediately comes a collective understanding, a shared connection which validates both the observer and the content itself. Look out for Rob at around 9 minutes.


3. Sebastian Wernicke: 1000 TEDTalks, 6 Words.

This is a great example of lateral thinking around a problem of data-segmentation. Wernicke uses Mechanical Turk to get all 1000 TEDTalks condensed into just six words. Whilst of course the point is illustrative and conceptual the learnings are thought-provoking. It’s a lesson in scaling outsourced tasks, quantifying diverse content-types and themes, utilising crowd-sourced content and opinion and representing this content in non-conventional ways. It’s also a great example of producing entirely original content out of already existing valuable content.

I do hope you enjoy these example TEDTalks as much as I have, and please do add any to the comments that you personally find to be useful or inspirational for whatever reason. I’d welcome any recommendations or suggestions as honestly you could spend hours of your day watching these fascinating videos!

It’s Event Week on State of Search!

It’s event week on State of Search this week! We are looking at everything around events, looking forward to SES London and helping you make the best choices you can make when it comes to attending, speaking or choosing your events.
This week is sponsored by Marin Software


Written By
Nichola Stott is owner and co-founder of theMediaFlow; online revenue optimisation and audience services (including SEO, SEM and SMM). Prior to founding theMediaFlow, Nichola spent four years at Yahoo! as head of UK commercial search partners.
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