In this episode of Marketing Smarts, Aaron Weber of Spiral16 discusses what makes content popular, how effective algorithms are at parsing the Web's information, and how to connect with the people who are talking about you.

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“Most of the Internet is noise,” says Aaron Weber of Spiral16, and who can disagree? Nevertheless, for all the noise, there is some meaningful “signal” there. The trick is figuring out how to isolate it and, more importantly, having done that, contextualize it so you can figure out what it actually means.

That can be a complicated process, but one that Spiral16, a web and social media monitoring tool, was built to facilitate. It’s also a process that Aaron himself has been involved with since the days that he served as a “content meatshield” for the (now defunct) site Transbuddha, a self-styled “repository and showcase for those wonderful and compelling nuggets of media that pepper the information highway like so many two-headed cows and 20-foot spiders.”

During his Transbuddha days, as Aaron describes it, he learned how content spreads across the Web as well as how to interact with people online. Today, he applies these lessons to the work he does as Spiral16’s data and analytics manager.

In this episode of Marketing Smarts, we talk to Aaron about what makes content popular (the big thing that people often forget, he says, is that “a lot of it is pure luck”), how effective algorithms are at parsing the Web’s information (turns out that, somewhere along the line “you need a human brain” to make sense of what you find), and how best to connect with the people who are actually talking about you on the Internet (the precious “signal” so easily lost in the “noise”).

On this last point, Aaron is adamant: Developing connections means remembering that all content on the Web is produced by “someone sitting at a machine carving out their world.”

Unfortunately, he adds, ”To the suit who wants to push product, that voice on the Internet is just a distribution method.”