When I was younger (showing my age here), when I wanted to find something out I either asked a parent/teacher or opened up a book. Both young and old people now just search for it on Google – in fact ‘Google it’ is now a part of our everyday language. This got me on to thinking, when somebody does Google something (other search engines are available…) they more or less believe whatever the answer or search results they are presented with tell them.
In these times of instant everything and the whole world having been indexed and digitised, should we believe everything the Internet tells us (crackpots and lunatics aside)?
When was the last time you opened up an encyclopaedia (remember those) and verified an answer to a pressing issue you searched for? Do you even have access to an encyclopaedia?
An encyclopaedia has been through a number of people prior to being published and again in most major revisions but more or less anybody can post something on the Internet and tag or SEO it accordingly.
I’m far from saying that self-publishing or the advent of the Internet opening up the world to new content is a bad thing (indeed, it means I can write and publish myself) but it does make you think.
The response when I challenged a few people about this topic ranged from, ‘the answers I get seem more or less right, so I run with them’ to ‘it must be true, it’s on Google isn’t it?’ I found most of the responses I got to be a little bit frightening when I sat down and thought about them.
We are all busy people leading hectic lives but the rushed culture we live in leads us to also accept rushed answers and the mantra of something sounding more or less right has prevailed.
The ways in which we consume and use information both analogue and digitally fascinates me, as does the possibilities of how we will do so in the future but from now on I will just linger a bit longer on my search results before finally accepting what they tell me.
This piece has also been posted on:
The Business Value Exchange in my position as CIO ‘Thought Leader’ and Featured Contributor