Brooks, T.A. (2004). “The Nature of Meaning in the Age of Google”, Information Research, 9(3) has an interesting take on things.
“The characteristic tension of the culture of lay indexing is between genuine information and spam. Google’s success requires maintaining the secrecy of its parsing algorithm despite the efforts of Web authors to gain advantage over the Googlebot. Legacy methods of asserting meaning such as the META keywords tag and Dublin Core are inappropriate in the lawless meaning space of the open Web. A writing guide is urged as a necessary aid for Web authors who must balance enhancing expression versus the use of technologies that limit the aggregation of their work.”
Was it ever so? In the world of an earlier generation, of every earlier generation, was there also this tension between those with information to promote and the mediators, publishers and gatekeepers? Does it matter that the mediator is an automaton, as foreshadowed in Metropolis?