My word of the week is “entropy”.
I don’t even know where it came from. I was one of those awful kids who read too much, and to this day strange words hijack my vocabulary when I’m trying to have a normal, human conversation. Because I’m far too much of a clever dick to resist showing off, they often get inflicted on my long-suffering colleagues. I was looking for a word that meant “if we don’t do something now this will get worse and worse”, and out it came.
WTF is Entropy?
Entropy is a physics concept, and my pseudo pop-science trivia knowledge tells me that it’s from the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The Second Law of Themodynamics goes as follows:
“In a closed system, all things tend towards entropy.”
I first came across this in The God Delusion, as an argument to support creationism. If all things, when left to themselves, tend to crumble into disorder, how can Evolution, which requires ever increasing complexity and order, possibly occur without some form of God to power it?
As an argument, this is bollocks, because it conveniently ignores the first half of the sentence:
“In a closed system…”
The Earth is not a closed system. It’s hooked up to a constant stream of energy in the form of sunlight, and this input is why we have weasels and sporks and #danceponydance instead of, well, not a lot.
So a closed system, no matter how complex, is doomed to fail. It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you’ve not got a channel from the outside world somewhere feeding something in, you’ll not just stay static. You’ll go backwards.
What SEO Blogs Aren’t Teaching Us About SEO
Where’s your input? Other SEO’s? Industry blogs? Maybe you occasionally move off the beaten path and read up on some more general marketing topics? That helps, but if everybody in marketing only reads about marketing topics on marketing blogs with marketing comments by marketers, that’s still a closed system.
I’m always looking for new SEO blogs to add to my bulging list of RSS feeds. I check inbound.org several times daily. And to be honest, I’m getting bored of it. I’m not learning much from rehash after rehash.
It’s one of the reasons I’ve not been inspired to write much myself. Do we really need yet more SEO blog posts? Or does our system need more outside input?
Why Are We Ridiculing the Solution?
There have been a few recent posts about the dearth of good quality content in the SEO industry generally. I mostly agree, but the fact that the “what X taught me about SEO” article format has become the source of generalised industry derision bothers me a little.
Sure, it’s not particularly elegant, and it’s mostly used to generate retweet worthy headlines instead of genuine insight, but if used right it’s got the potential to push back the boundaries, open up our closed system and deliver us from entropy.
The best SEO ideas I’ve come across in the past six months have not been published in blogs about SEO. They’ve been about psychology, statistics, other stuff. My RSS reader needs outside input. It needs some more diverse reading material to replace the same old same old.
The Entropy Experiment
My challenge: I’m diversifying. I’m going on an SEO article diet. As far as I can manage, industry-specific reading will be replaced with alternative topics that interest me in the search for new ideas and fresh perspectives.
I may well start with some Physics.