Real world vs. Facebook’s world vs. Google’s world — Updated

Black Island Kempt Head

Facebook continually pesters me to entrer the “city” where I live, but rejects Kempt Head, Ross Ferry, Boularderie, and Cape Breton all of which are more-or-less accurate. It will allow me to enter Halifax, Sydney, or Baddeck, none of which is accurate.

Contrast this with Google, which embraces locations with admirable granularity. Google effortlessly adopts islands, villages, hamlets—even micro-locations like Frankie’s Pond and Parker’s Beach—as long as it sees real people using them.

This may seem a small thing, but it strikes me as a profound difference in the cultures of the two organizations. One constantly cajoles you into ill-fitting pigeonholes. The other looks at what you and those around you are actually doing, and continually updates and adjusts to this new information.

(Photos: Above: Black Island (in Gaelic, Island Dhu), Kempt Head, in the real world. Below: Black Island, Kempt Head, on Google Maps.)

Black Island


Marla Cranston points out the Purcell’s Cove dies not exist in Facebook World.

If Calvert, NL, native Jenn Power were so inclined, she could list Ferryland as her home town, but this would be like asking her to accept Big 8 in place of Diet Coke. Far worse, actually.

Newly minted Margaree Centre resident Stephen Mills cannot list that village as his current residence, but Facebook World does allow “Margaree,” a community that, as Mills points out, does not actually exist.

There is no plain “Margaree” —— just the directional or topographic variations: North East Margaree, Margaree Valley, etc.

Interestingly, Mills contends that

[A]ll the Margarees were a bureucratic decision at some point. Names like Frizzelton and Fordview described the locations at one point.

Hat tips and blog posts

I’m new to blogging and still feeling my way around the courtesies and protocols of the genre. When I post an item I found somewhere else, I usually credit and link to the source where I encountered it — a figurative tip of the hat. Sometimes I dig deeper and link to the original source material, and sometimes to both (“hat tip [originator] via [mysource]”). These links are courteous to my comrades in the ether, and provide a richer experience for the reader.

Traditional news organizations sometimes complain that the whole blog world is an endless exercise in ripping off their work, but when these same journals find stories on line, they are often less than scrupulous about crediting the original source. A certain dead tree periodical in Nova Scotia is particularly stingy with links.

For an extended account of how all this plays out in practice, check out Danny Sullivan‘s blogpost about how the mainstream media (and a few fellow bloggers) appropriated his story, on, complete with imagery, about a Utah woman who is suing Google over a car accident she says was caused by faulty Google Map walking directions—but failed to credit him as its source.

At 2,494 words, it’s an unusually long blogpost, but it adds up to a witty seminar on attribution ethics in a digital newsworld.

And to be clear, I heard about Sullivan’s post on Episode 45 of LeoLaPorte’s always entertaining and engaging podcast, This Week in Google.