Where do we surf?

Where do we surf?

I’m seeing a lot of interest in “search” since people realized that Google’s SEO for itself has been really good (lol) in the past few years. Yes, I 100% TikTok search when I’m about to purchase something. Is it because TikTok is a better aggregator of information or I believe it’s telling me the truth? Not at all.

TikTok 1) is multimedia search 2) gets me at a time other “browsers” don’t. TikTok has a level of meaninglessness that leaves me susceptible to any information. Most similar to flipping through TV stations in 2007, I’m losing brain cells there. If there is ANYTHING remotely of substance, I want to see what is the thought process that guides the online dialogue that way.

The Source

The greatest thing about TikTok is the general lack of anonymity. I can probably find who came up with it and who’s building on the theory thanks to the Great Dance Debate of 2020s. The combination of quarantine, a new centralization of culture and group shame of cultural appropriation, especially of Black creatives, caused sharp necessity for “crediting.”

TikTok is the ONLY platform where the collective shuns stolen creative thinking since the original culture of American Tiktok was during this accountable time.

This is something all other platforms lack (especially news media). Do we know if this truth stands in 2023 compared to the accuracy of 2021? We don’t. But, the chance that it can be perceived that way is enough for people to trust it.

The Surf

Coined by Jean Polly.

The internet is basically the airport in that there are three use cases for it:

  • Browse
  • Search
  • Surf

These have looked like:

A marketplace in the 1500s
Asking a merchant
Walking around independent shops until you find something
Macys in 1980s
Asking a Macy’s employee
Walking around independent shops until you find something
The internet
search engines


"The intent of the searcher is to fetch or find – whether a specific product or a specific category of products.

They call searchers “spearfishers”, determined to catch something exact or fairly well defined. The faster and easier the better: frustration exasperates the single-mindedness of the searcher. When users go to Amazon to buy a computer, they’ve already done their research, they just need a search box, some faceting, and user reviews to make their decision.” [1]

Online Media


“The intent of the browser is to explore and learn about what you offer, to discover.

Browsers cast a wider net. They have more time and patience — as long as the browse experience allows them to explore easily. Though a browser may sometimes switch roles and become a searcher, their ultimate goal is to flip through pages to discover and be inspired by what you have to offer. In the browse scenario, the search box is not central (though it should be easily available). What is central to browsing is the navigation and showcase of your products and content. Navigation involves menus and facets; showcase involves category pages and carousels. We’ll see many examples below, but here are some example of excellent browse and discovery experiences:

  • Fashion shoppers browsing with curiosity a brand’s special collections
  • Technology buyers exploring and researching the newest high tech
  • Homeowners using the immersive Ikea experience to imagine different home designs
  • Travelers planning their vacations as they browse destinations
  • Movie goers browsing genre, theme, and directors before choosing a film” [1]