However, I also LOVE the idea that social media is a tool for truth. The idea that anyone with wifi and a computer can learn something completely new just by visiting Google and typing in a name, place or thing makes me dizzy with delight.
But there’s a caveat …
Does Google = Groupthink?
If you and I were to sit down with our laptops, side by side, and Google something, our results would not be the same. No, in fact, they’d be quite different. This is because Google, like other sites, uses algorithms to make Googling a more user-based experience.
Your Google search will return items based on your past Google searches, on your cookies and other various variables that this “lay person” isn’t privy to. Algorithms and filter bubbles, while providing a more enriched search, may also hurt us.
What happens if we’re looking for a clean, unbiased view? Does Google force us into Groupthink?
We are lucky to live in a country where we have access to the open internet and Google; where we are free to search terms, ideas and movements that the government may or may not support; that we are free to read about other religions and politics and an endless stream of opinions and beliefs.
So where do these “user-friendly” algorithms start to encroach on those rights? Or do they violate them at all?
In several of the Communication courses I took at Penn State, we talked about having to create your own non-biased view of the media. We were encouraged to watch Fox and CNN and MSNBC to formulate our own POV (point of view) on just one story. We were warned against watching only one of those stations, as their POV would lean slightly left or right.
That said, how can we create our own non-based view of the internet if each search engines use filter bubbles and algorithms before presenting us with results?
Tools For Truth
I’m not one to impart my ideas or beliefs on others. I’m very open to others’ thoughts and am certainly not one to bash people for feeling a certain way – especially if it’s not “my” way.
However, the internet and social sphere are full of these people. I tend to shy away from religion and politics for that very reason. It’s beyond me that we can’t just agree to disagree on some things.
If I’m telling the absolute truth, I’m nervous writing this article. I don’t want an argument or backlash to appear in the comments; though I’m desperate to know what others think about this topic.
Can we consider search a “tool for truth” if there is any sort of barrier, big or small, affecting our results?
I don’t know the answer to that. I’m hoping you do. All opinions welcome – obviously.
PS: I still LOVE, and will use, Google.
See you in the social sphere!
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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and customer care agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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