Friday, August 14, 2009

Information, Information, Information

After a recent blog post and possibly the Tweet or Retweet from The Pumped Librarian I have been thinking a lot about how we interact with information. Is it better or worse to have this much media flowing into our phones, computers and for some televisions? I have thus far refused to use because I already cannot handle the amount of information coming to me through various forms of social media and standard web surfing. I would have a complete mental breakdown if I had a running list of articles bookmarked that I had meant to read but hadn't found the time to.

One of the articles I did receive and read was MSNBC's Search questions often both wacky and weird which discusses how search engines have changed our lives and how Google (and other companies) auto-fill search predictors offer an amusing insight into the world's searches.

I first noted the hilarity when typing in the phrase, "which is worse" when trying to compare high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. What I saw was this:

I found it funny that marijuana use is listed twice but not using it's hard to spell term, but rather weed. You would think that a browser's auto-spell check would help out with this, but perhaps it is a bunch 12 year olds sitting around trying to figure out what to try first. It's not surprising, to me, that health concerns dominate the list, considering how unhealthy we Americans tend to be.

Of course, seeing this and then reading the above mentioned article I decided to test out a few other phrases to see how entertaining this could be. I tried "who is" next:

Here we find someone looking for a question posed in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, among other things. I am most struck by the last one asking who the antichrist is. Seriously? Is this just a group of scared christian children using the web to get all the answers they couldn't find in the good book? But seriously if there was an antichrist who came to town and there was an epic battle between heaven and hell I am pretty sure this would be common knowledge to all of humankind.

Next up "Should I...":

"Should I get a divorce"

"Should I call him?"

There can't really be people sitting at their computers thinking that the internet has the answers of these extremely personal questions, right? Please tell me I am right.

I am pretty sure "should I shave my pubic hair" wins this round. I think google should respond to this one with questions of its own.

"Do you have crabs?"

"Is it uncomfortable?"

"Does your boyfriend or girlfriend call your nether regions The Black Forest?"

"Is your Boyfriend or Girlfriend having a hard time locating the desired parts?"

Two other great phrases are "last night I" and "could I"

Hopefully we have all learned something about how Google has practically become everything to everyone, a confidant and a friend. What does this say about us? About the age of information? And about where we are headed as a culture?


  1. On trimming the bush to make the tree look taller; from a blog about animation of all sources:

  2. I like when you type "Why are" and "Why are there school" comes up...hahahaha. Why are there school indeed.

  3. I love that The Smiths came up so quickly after typing in Last night I. . .

    And now after "Could I have this dance for the rest of my life" I really want to listen to Anne Murray.

  4. I was re-reading this today, thinking about the recent changes to Facebook.

    I can't really think in a penetrating way about these subjects any more or come to some amazing conclusion, but people's reaction to the new format is both surprising and really interesting.

  5. Shel, It really is interesting looking at people's reaction to the changes made in facebook. I believe that it is simply resistance to change. The main reason I say that is that there are a million protest groups that pop up every time a change in interface is made to facebook. After a few weeks, possibly a few months everyone grows quiet for two reasons.

    The first (and most likely dominant) is that they are used to the changes and have mentally moved on. In all likelihood most people couldn't tell you what it was like before the change after a short time.

    The second reason is that they know that their protesting is really just falling on deaf ears. I am sure there is a lot of money spent in usability and design studies to facebook to make their interface changes. Some people won't be happy regardless.

    Change is essential, it is important. The inability to evolve effectively can be seen in the exodus of people from myspace.

    I have another blog in the draft stage that deal with this sort a thing. Unfortunately it isn't funny. at least not yet.