Jumping onto the AI Train?
You know by now that being among the first of everyone to opt All In for anything new is an iffy proposition. AI, the hot thing nowadays, is no exception. And so was Pinterest, for me. Until I realized that I could actually organize my own boards and control them, Pinterest was outlandishly confusing. The rush now to go totally AI has the same effect,. Here’s what I think about it.
Pinterest Slowly Reveals Itself as a Real Search Engine
A couple of years ago, when the whole world was locked down, business was exceptionally slow. True enough, BW SEO is digital and doesn’t normally depend on foot traffic. But my clientele was impacted otherwise. No feet, no meat. However, they could still get products by ordering online, and SEO / content creation just had some slow months. A few newborn photographers figured out how to use Zoom and the like, to put up adorable portraits online so they could keep their businesses running. And another few figured out how to do basic SEO for their own sites. Can’t fault them for wanting to save a little cash.
So, since I don’t (won’t) do cold-calling or spam emails, here was all this extra time on my hands. And I got a few inquiries about Pinterest business accounts from existing clients and hopefully, maybe, possibly on board clients. Dropping by those existing accounts revealed the same sort of dizzying disorganization that I’d experienced before on Pinterest. But a little investigation on creating pins and sorting them onto boards that were already available, and learning how to create new boards as needed, began to make more sense.
Most of all, the realization that you could search for anything on Pinterest, and find numerous user-friendly examples, caught my attention, big time. And Bingo! A couple of new listings were added to my Etsy store. Never mind that Etsy has probably used AI for quite a while, to present its ‘similar products like these’. We’ve heard mutterings, before, and have assumed that somewhere, there must be a box you can click to opt out of such notifications.
The lure of AI: A snake lurks in the garden
I did have the presence of mind to at least set up the framework of my own Pinterest Business page, to reassure the public that I knew how to do it. But almost immediately Pinterest Setup orders began to come in, proving that my hunch was correct about people wanting it. And my own property was put on the back burner, while I taught myself Pinterest for others.
In the past few months, after the admission that we were being set up for greater compliance and willingness to accept further herding, all of a sudden AI seemed to be everywhere. From autocorrect to telling me how to do my SEO job (‘use more keywords in a post this size!’), I don’t mind letting you know that I’m finding it quite annoying. And even dangerous. AI is more than just the next shiny thing meant to distract us. It was always meant to rule us.
AI’s instant popularity gives me the creeps
Not only does AI predict your buying habits to present more choices of what you may want or need. But it also shapes your decisions. Do some basic research on how society has been changed from open and trusting, to suspicious and guarded, yet willing to accept loss of freedoms. Sure, AI makes content creation faster. But the end product makes little sense. Even my page builder of choice now offers to let me write or edit with AI. Wonder how long it will take until it demands that I comply?
A short time ago now, we weren’t allowed to board a plane to visit friends and family, without compliance with personal distancing. And the lockdowns have opened the floodgates of Google’s new products designed to get you to develop new habits, to separate you from more ad money. All going to Google, naturally. Goodness, people, you don’t need The Big G running your life.
It’s almost impossible to find Google Search Console. By the way, GSC is what keeps track of your website’s analytics. Just so you know. You have to plow through the whole listing of new products to the very last line, and finally you can get to it, under a different (and previously unannounced) heading. The excuse is, ‘oh, we’re making life BETTER for you!’ I felt the same way about that dratted paper clip — way too helpful.
Learn how to tell stories that people want to read. And click on.
Among SEOs there is a tsunami of the old ‘SEO is dead’ gloom. That’s not new. We heard it every time Google came out with a new algorithm changing the way they wanted to weight search results (or skew them). Depending on how much of a plunge the analytics took — and how skittish our clients were — we learned to counteract that sickening downward turn and get it headed up again.
Many SEOs turned to buying links or putting up affiliate sites or simply changing the keywords on dormant websites they got on the cheap. That might work for a while, but sooner or later, The Big G figured out their scams and started sending their crawl spiders somewhere else more interesting. I mean, what self respecting crawl would waste time on a page that designated one-word keywords and returned millions of hits?
Already, my page builder of choice displays a button inviting (luring) me to ‘Write with AI’. No thanks. My words come from my own mind and experience. Mind you, I’m not totally Luddite about AI either, as it does have its uses. Plus, there’s no avoiding it. You just have to find ways to use it as the tool you want it to be, rather than give in and let it rule your life.
Tower of Babble?
Several months ago I was asked about providing content and SEO on a referral basis for another company. Well, sure, I can deal with that. The follow up info was this: ‘We use these specific tools (which I won’t name to avoid potential legal actions).’ So I tried them. As I said earlier, way too ‘helpful’.
The content was produced in a runaway torrent of words, and the app wanted more and more keywords inserted. Even those silly single term keywords and then overly descriptive adjectives that had little or no connection to the subject of the post. I never did complete that exercise. The post went on and on, each paragraph not much different from the one before it and not making much sense either.
Early in my typesetting/graphics career, I was asked to create a French version of a pet food label. All well and good, but using that basic translation program just so the contractor could save a few bucks didn’t work at all. The English was translated literally, with hilarious results. ‘Shiny coat’ became ‘sparkling dress’. ‘Radiant health’ became ‘lightning doctor appointments’. That sort of thing.
Keeping in mind that Google is a Chinese company, I can see how AI works beneath the surface. It’s like a reverse engineering of that earlier French translation program, going the other way. Have you ever read the English version of a label for fireworks? ‘Lay on ground. Light string. Retire quickly.’ Or the care label on baby clothes? ‘Remove infant before washing.’