Google and Bungle: Math Meets PR

June 14, 2019

i read “Announcements Made Carlos Maza’s Harassment Worse” written by a student. I found the write up interesting but probably not for the reasons the editors of Vice did. The main point of the write up strikes me as:

In the hours following YouTube’s announcement, a range of far-right users received notices from the platform indicating that they could no longer convert their viewership into ad revenue. This is not the first time YouTube has enacted sweeping changes that affect content creators: in the past year or so, users have come to expect so-called “Adpocalypses” as YouTube attempts to stay advertiser-friendly.  This time, however, users weren’t only blaming YouTube—they were blaming a Vox journalist and YouTube creator who was now facing a torrent of abuse thanks in part to YouTube’s fumbling and poorly-timed announcements.

Online harassment may be like explaining the Mona Lisa. Is the figure smiling? Do the eyes follow a viewer? Is Mona Leonardo is a “get up”? Art history students are not likely to reach agreement. Google has discovered that it has its Mona Lisa smile moment.

For DarkCyber, the student essay is interesting and valuable because it reveals the disconnect between the scrambling Alphabet and the clown car of YouTube content. Now the clown car is displaying ads which explain what’s going on with filtering.

Why the disconnect the student captures in the essay?

The answer is that management precepts based on “we know better” and “sell ads” does not translate well. The Alphabet Google approach grates on the sensibilities of its “creators.”

When a person younger than I captures the consequences of high school wizards making decisions for the entire school, the message is, “Alphabet Google is not communicating effectively across the board.”

Thus, the student’s write up captures a moment in management history. If there were viable MBA programs, perhaps a bright student would study the “bungle” and Google management processes with a critical eye.

For now, we have student essays explaining how the world’s smartest “bungle” and with public relations no less. Where are the math wizards, the computer scientists, the engineers? Right, right. In management.

Stephen E Arnold, June 14, 2019


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