The Loneliest Jukebox

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Search engine short cuts

Recently I was approached about going on BBC London to discuss Francis Gilbert's book, Yob Nation (buy it here). The basis for this invite was my blog commentary on the book, where I basically did a capsule review of Gilbert's earlier volume, I'm a Teacher, Get Me Out of Here. (Don't worry Francis, I'm getting round to your latest effort. Three hours out of my life I'll never back...)

I thought it strange that my blog entry, where I said explicitly that I hadn't read the book yet and therefore wouldn't be reviewing it at this point in time, was the basis for an invite to appear on the show. But I did notice that the email invitation called Gilbert's book 'Yob Culture' - an understandable error, given the reactionary niche the book now occupies.

A quick trip to a popular search engine might explain the impact of this error on selecting guests. Do a quick search for the exact phrases "Francis Gilbert" and "Yob Culture" and you get, at the time of writing, 85 hits. My blog entry is number 11, with some of the preceding ones coming from advertisers' listings. Do the same thing using the correct title for the book and there's 9650 hits, and I'm relegated to number 32. (A bit like on Top of the Pops...) Could the 'Google effect' be boosting my profile as an expert on anti-social behaviour once again?

The show itself is broadcast tonight, with Gilbert and Rod Liddle appearing. In the end BBC London decided against using me as a guest, presumably so that viewers would not think they had tuned into an episode of Grumpy Old Men by mistake.


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