Is SEO Killing America?

Clay Johnson (
Keynote Broadway Ballroom
This presentation will be streamed live along with the other keynotes.
Average rating: ****.
(4.33, 3 ratings)

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.

Photo of Clay Johnson

Clay Johnson

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.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Picture of Angela Bole
Angela Bole
02/14/2012 5:58pm EST

Really one of the best presentations I’ve seen in awhile. For those of us who entered into this business because we deeply appreciate the way content in all its forms – novels, news, comics, whatever – expands perspective, this is pivotal stuff. But what to do about it?... At any rate, I’m very glad Clay Johnson is talking about it; very glad to have heard him speak.

  • Publishers Weekly
  • Ingram Content Group
  • codeMantra
  • Impelsys Inc.
  • SPi Global
  • Baker & Taylor
  • Blackboard
  • Bowker
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Innodata
  • Jouve North America
  • MarkLogic
  • Newgen KnowledgeWorks
  • Océ North America
  • Temis
  • Aptara
  • Atex
  • LibreDigital
  • Media Services Group
  • MarkLogic
  • Smashwords, Inc.

For information on exhibition and sponsorship opportunities at the conference, contact Sharon Cordesse at

View a complete list of TOC contacts