Search Engine Optimization is a great tool for marketing a content-driven website, but basing editorial and titling decisions solely on what you believe readers are searching for has serious social consequences. Our food providers have tailored products to the taste buds of consumers, with the consequence of food manufactured to be salt-fat-sugar bombs, and an increasingly obese nation. Our news providers are now carefully tailoring content to the clicks of millions of readers, with the consequence of catering to their most base instincts, and churning out information-obese citizens. Certainly there must be a better way. And there is: Clay Johnson makes the case for the “Whole Foods” model of content.
Clay Johnson is the author of The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption, and director of engagement for Expert Labs. He was the co-founder of Blue State Digital, the firm that built and managed Barack Obama’s online campaign for the presidency in 2008. After leaving Blue State, Johnson was the director of Sunlight Labs at the Sunlight Foundation, where he built an army of 2000 developers and designers to build open source tools to give people greater access to government data. He was awarded the Google/O’Reilly Open Source Organizer of the year in 2009, was one of Federal Computing Week’s Fed 100 in 2010, and won the CampaignTech Innovator award in 2011.
Johnson’s combination of experience as a developer, working in politics, entrepreneurism, and non-profit work gives him a unique perspective on media and culture. His life is dedicated to giving people greater access to the truth about what’s going on in their communities, their cities and their governments. He still claims that he learned all he needs to know from a two year tour as the late-shift waiter at Waffle House in Atlanta, GA.
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