I've just finished Bringing Nothing to the Party: True Confessions Of A New Media Whore by Paul Carr. It was published in the distant past of 2008, but hasn't dated too horribly. While I was reading it, I refrained from Googling Paul Carr, for fear of spoilers. He was telling an exciting tale, and I didn't want to discover that all of his plans had fallen to dust, in the years since publication. This proved especially hard when (towards the end of the book) he talks at length about a site an ex-girlfriend puts together, in order to document her perspective on their relationship.
So it was with some surprise that when I did look him up, Paul Carr seems to have mostly disappeared from the Internet. Sure - his Wikipedia page is still up and his personal site still exists, but even in the time between looking him up and writing this post, his blog has been removed (from memory, the last post was in 2012). The ex-girlfriend's site might be on The Wayback Machine, but Carr doesn't share the URL.
Much of the SEO knowledge in the book is out-of-date. Google Bombing, for example, now no longer works. At the time the book was published, the general opinion was that "the Internet never forgets". Since the Google "Freshness" update of 2011, Google will prioritise up-to-date information, in preference to old. What's surprising is the impact this has had on search results. We're often told that only a small proportion of users click beyond the first page of any given search result. When Mr. Carr stopped chasing fame on the Internet, it's striking just how quickly the Internet moved on.
And yet the physical book remains (an eBook of which Carr briefly distributed for free - it seems to have gone now, though). It's flimsy, flammable pages will probably outlast most of us. Copyright libraries are obliged to retain a copy of it presumably until the end of time. Google will not be so loyal.
Photo credit: Christopher Michel. Image concept: Jenny Kelloe, who is really good at her job.