Two Very Different Online Takes on One Day

Last Friday was 11.11.11. It was a rare occurrence indeed and it brought out everything from the ridiculous to the sublime. I took a look back at how two of the major players in online world, Twitter and Google, looked at the day. Twitter, of course looked at the trending of who was talking about the date and when. This video gives a quick visualization from their blog post entitled “Once in a Lifetime”.

Cute, I suppose. Looking at the novelty of the day is certainly is one online take and fits Twitter perfectly. It’s a world of fleeting trends that come and go like waves hitting the shoreline. They keep coming and we now just expect it to be that way. Whether we pay attention or not is more about our mood than our beliefs.

The flip side of looking at a day came from Google. This day was a rare opportunity to show what was truly important. In this case, a numerical oddity or the other celebration of the day which in the United State was Veterans Day, a holiday that is slowly trying to regain its stature in a society that at times has all but forgotten what sacrifice means.

Google used its capabilities to show another type of trip around the world. Using a tool called tour builder veterans could create a picture of their time in service to their country and where that service took them.

I know which take on 11.11.11 was more significant to me. I also know that it will not be the same for everyone but that’s cool because, at its core, social media has something for everyone. What did become apparent in this little exercise, however, was just how limited some tools are in expressing something bigger than a trend. It’s not a knock on Twitter at all. It’s not built to be deep and reflective and to have a lot of extra capabilities. Google, on the other hand, can have too much information about any subject.

How do you look at the day’s events in the new online all the time world that is starting to develop at a rapid pace? Are you looking for a fleeting trend, a meaningful interaction or both? Where do you turn to get what you need? It’s actually an important question to answer because what lens you choose to view the world will determine what you see and what you don’t see.