“I mean, what are they gonna say about him, when he’s gone, huh? What are they gonna say? Are they gonna say “he was a kind man”? “He was a wise man”? “He had plans”; “He had wisdom”? Bullsh**, man! What are they gonna do when he’s gone? … Am I gonna set them straight, NO…” Dennis Hopper, Apocalypse Now
I first heard about the really sad news concerning Chris Henry from Twitter and like a billion other people, googled his name to find out the latest news about him. Sure enough, Google was featuring real time results on Chris Henry SERPS since this qualified as a hot “Breaking News Story”. Now plenty of folks in our industry such as Lisa Barone, Rae Hoffman & Michael Gray were pretty down on this latest Google Initiative…I didn’t necessarily agree but I also hadn’t paid as much attention to the issue as them. However, when the Chris Henry tragedy hit, I really had a chance to evaluate Google’s offering in “optimum” conditions. I have to say that I was impressed…
No, I wasn’t just a little impressed…I was impressed to the level as if I were seeing John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, Leroy Vinnegar & Buddy Rich jamming together on the same celestial bandstand in the sky. I’ve scarcely seen anything more impressive online than what I viewed (and I suspect the real time results will only to get better).
Google’s Real Time SERPS brought the immense disjointed conversation surrounding the Chris Henry story into an easily digestible extremely compelling flow that anyone could follow just by watching them scroll…and that is one heck of an accomplishment.
In the relatively brief time I monitored the Real Time SERPS, here are some of the things that I saw:
- Major News Sources like CNN, ESPN & TMZ reporting the breaking news (of which the details weren’t always consistent).
- Local News Sources & Football Blogs also reporting the news.
- Fake News Sources reporting erroneous news (and real news sources exposing the fakes).
- Teammate Chad OchoCinco tweeting multiple times in anguish and other athletes like Nick Barnett who learned of the news on Twitter expressing their sadness.
- Expressions of sorrow from random people in the Twitterverse.
- Multiple people attempting to compare Henry to Tiger Woods in some manner…usually via lame attempts at humor.
- Friends @topheratl commenting on the story & @dr_pete answering one of my tweets about Google’s SERPS.
- Some spam but not enough to detract from the flow of information. The spam was no more noticeable than the ripples made by skipping a stone across a pond…slightly visible for a brief moment before vanishing for good.
Each entry in the Real Time SERPS contained a different perspective on the Chris Henry story and taken together brought forth a flow of information that was as close to the “ultimate truth” as we could possibly get at that moment in time.
You see, it wasn’t that long ago that I wrote a post titled “Search as a Narrative” (which was a rewrite of another post) where I argued that the act of using a search engine and examining the results it returns is, in effect, creating a narrative in the mind of the searcher based upon the information shown and how that information is perceived. Google’s Real Time SERPS algorithmically brought a narrative of the story directly to the searcher without the searcher doing any work…all they needed to do is sit and watch the results scroll by (clicking on any results if they wished) and perceive the story in their own personal way.
Kurosawa’s Rashomon offers the lesson that relationship of a person telling a story to its action can greatly impact that person’s current perspective and future communication of the story. To best approach the actuality of “ultimate truth”, all available perspectives must be brought together as seamlessly as possible. Google’s Real Time Search gives searchers a super-mega-amphetamine Rashomon-like perspective of breaking news…a seemingly infinite number of viewpoints culled down to representative views from trusted sources reflective of the whole. These real-time SERPS show amazingly vibrancy compared to their static counterparts.
Todd Mintz is the Director of Internet Marketing & Information Systems for S.R. Clarke Inc. He also is on the Board of Directors at SEMpdx, runs his own side gigs and tweets quite a bit.