Baseball’s first pitch ain’t like an Internet pitch

It’s that time of the year. No, not tax time although that is pretty close. It’s springtime. Here in NC everything is starting to bloom. Sneezing has commenced and pretty soon we’ll be knee deep in yellow pollen. Despite that, it’s not the weather that thrills me in April. My birthday is in April but as I count more and more of them, the word excitement leans more toward dread. Here’s why April is the greatest month of all.  It’s time for baseball. The first pitch of the regular  season will be thrown this weekend and there will be a built-in escape route for the next six months when Internet marketing and other distractions get to be a bit too much. The world will make more sense for a short while.

[Tris Speaker, Boston AL (baseball)] (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

I am trying real hard to find a good analogy between baseball and Internet marketing. Right now, I have the equivalent of two strikes on me, facing Jonathan Papelbon of the Red Sox when he is throwing his best stuff. In other words, I can’t figure one out but I think I know why.
You see, I view baseball as near perfect. I don’t believe in perfection, so near perfection is a big deal. The symmetry of the game is flawless. The combination of intense one-on-one competition and the absolute dependence on the team as a whole fascinates me. There are always three outs to end an inning and every game is allowed to finish, regardless of time needed, and both teams have an equal number of times to hit and score runs.
The rules of the game remain basically the same for all time. Although the players come and go, and the fans change, and the steroids are taken, the game stays the same. I like that. I can depend on that. When I watch a baseball game I can relax because it seems natural. Oh, and lastly, the game, like its real fans, is forgiving. I like that.
In my opinion, Internet marketing is the antithesis of baseball. There is literally no symmetry. Each keyword’s game, which is the search engine results page, has its own set of rules that determine success. No one is sure of what those rules are, except there are a few general guidelines that the overlord of search, the algorithm, reveals in its own time, and passes on to the masses with an arrogance that is, well, annoying at times.
The Internet game itself doesn’t give clear cut winners because there are too many variations on winning. What one person sees in the rankings gives no assurance that another person searching for the same word will see the same result. Thus, a win of
ranking first with one searcher could be a frustration of showing up below the fold for another. There’s no justice in that.
Also, the rules of search change, and no one truly knows when those changes occur, and we must grope in the dark, listening to pseudo experts postulate about what effect these changes have had, if they actually have occurred. And, as if the mystery is not enough, the last thing Internet marketing and search marketing can claim is forgiveness. It’s cutthroat and it’s vicious. Not for the faint of heart.
One thing Internet marketing always is, though, is interesting. Maybe it’s the not knowing that makes it that way. Maybe it’s just a twisted desire to stick around long enough to see it become as nearly perfect as baseball. I don’t know.
Well, since I can’t play baseball for a living I have learned to tolerate and at times enjoy the uncertainty of Internet marketing. Funny thing is, that just as I started to get comfortable with this thing, I turn around and this other thing called social media shows up.
Please God can’t we have that first pitch right now?

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