This is a follow-up to “Our Online Freedom Stripped Away: Films and News that Prove It (Parts 1 & 2)” and its natural descendant, “Our Online Headlines Stripped Away: The Google Support Ticket that Proves It.” The latter delved into why the search engine title had been truncated to the second half “Films and News that Prove It” for both articles instead of a more fitting, “Our Online Freedom Stripped Away.”
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! At the end of our last article, we had just filed the closest thing to a support ticket for a Google complaint. We went to Google Help and posted on what appeared to be more like a forum to ask the general community about a specific “Google product.” Get to the list of forums by going here. We specifically posted in the “Google Search Help Forum.”
At first, I must say, the results weren’t very heartening.
One person way down even expressed that he thought the truncation was more appropriate than what I wanted, but that I could “modify the title to force the usage you desire.” This is more or less what most of the Support forum trolls (no derision intended) recommended. I didn’t want to do that, because I had already specified my “SEO
Title” in WordPress, and Yahoo seemed to have picked up what the proper display title should have been. There was definitely something more to it.
So I let it be to see if anyone else posted suggestions, or to see if an actual Google official would turn up. A few helpful souls did actually post a few more thoughtful ideas. It seemed that some of them were fascinated and even did some experiments. I guess this guy was from Canada, who said:
“Here is a funny result:
There is censorship in that the bot makes a decision in some circumstances (mostly described above).”
Nice to know that people were interested. What ultimately happened, though, after a couple of weeks, is that Part 1 started to appear the way I wanted it to. Who was behind that? I have no idea.
- Perhaps the algorithm started to pick up on my demands and references to my desired SEO title in the follow-up I wrote
- If there was truly a suppression of my desired SEO title going on, maybe as the updates came through week after week, someone forgot to manually go in and change the default SEO to the irrelevant one I complained about
- The synchronicity of the three (about to be four) article titles to one another had an effect on the algorithm that chooses headline truncations
- An actual Google tech who had some sway over Google Search headlines saw my complaint and decided to correct it—for what reason they’d be so kind? I can’t say…
But for now, since no one from Google ever talked to me about it (and I doubt they ever will), I can only surmise. However, we can be reassured that if you make a big enough stink about something, something might actually happen, and it might just be what you want. Oh, and by the way, I decided to write this today when I tested and noticed that the second part had been fixed as well.
Have they (the Powers That Be) got the whole system gamed to where these individual complaints are addressed automatically to placate those making the most noise? If so, should we even complain at all, since our individual needs—even those that are constitutional like Freedom of Speech—are being addressed, even if indirectly? I must admit, I still take comfort when I catch Fox News once in awhile and they’re still talking issues highlighting the importance of individual freedom. The concerns of the constitutional minority are definitely being covered in many mainstream news outlets. I know, I know, Infowars fans, they’re definitely concealing a lot of really important stuff at the same time.
Even if our needs ultimately get covered by algorithms that “detect” when we have a reasonable demand, I must still dissent and underscore the virtue of direct communication. A lot of what technology provides for us is a safety net that allows us to hide if we wish to avoid a conflict, as well as a bulletproof vest of anonymity that allows us to go in guns blazing without fear of consequence when we really feel like being critical, catty, and otherwise unreasonable to our fellow man.
We should look for companies and institutions that try to maintain a personal touch. A direct confrontational approach from customer, voter, official, and business owner should be rewarded, and we shouldn’t shrink back in fear of those gutterflies that plague us in uncomfortable situations. Yes, perpetual stress should be avoided, but part of living in peace with all men is the willingness to partake in diplomacy, in the true unpolitical sense, choosing to approach people with your specific problems handled according to each situation. And I cannot stress enough the kind of peace this has brought me in my personal and business relationships. (Though it is really painful when the other side is evasive.)
This is the kind of integrity that will get you really far in life. Google, having no customer service department to speak of (at least for their search engine service), belies their disregard for the regular and even somewhat advanced user. When was the last time you spoke to someone at Google? Who are they? One day, perhaps, we’ll be able to see through the Googling glass, and hopefully it won’t be darkly.