What Google Isn’t
“Just Google it”. Of course, you can find out pretty much everything when you type it into a search engine. At least, so it seems.
In truth, Web searching hides a big fat lie that we have all come to believe. It’s that everything is on the Web and that’s all we ever need.
Initially, teachers, librarians, and concerned researchers cautioned users to consider Internet fallibility. “You won’t find everything on the Web and even then remember it’s not all it seems”. But baby, look at us now.
Today, we do expect it to tell us everything. While, some live their entire lives online, heedless to its deficiencies.
As it stands, so much good stuff will never get to the Web. Wonderful photographs are kept off the Web to stop them being pilfered by people devoid of respect. Good books, great music, and other grand creations remain in the analogue world (where the only thing digital are your own fingers).
While you already know that, a great many don’t. They no longer question the Internet’s authority and apart from being alarming that’s rather sad.
Why? Well, whole generations and cultures have become disenfranchised by over-reliance on the Web. Elderly folk, who never surf, barely exist in a digital sense. Nor do young children… yet.
Cultures and societies where Internet anything seems too expensive, strange, or simply unnecessary, have a sidelined identity. Consequently, our digital stories and encounters have gaps – bigger than anyone admits.
But you don’t have to go that far to notice exclusions. In a cyberworld without much intimacy or touch, the emphasis is visual and auditory. That slices off a major part of how people feel, conditioning us to shape the way we make sense.
Finally, there’s the matter of accuracy. How much content is biased versus impartial? And what kind of responsibility is applied to what we read and see?
The Internet has a lot of valuable answers, it’s true, and it’s terrific for sharing ideas worldwide. And yet, good as it is, there is so much missing.
Simply because we are such sensitive beings, these aspects can tamper with our sense of reality (and therefore, our happiness). So when it comes to the Internet it’s sensible to ask questions.
As it is, Google tailors what you see every time you log on. So you are steered toward sites that fit in with what you like to buy, where you live, and what you’ve clicked before. Having identified your profile, they will keep feeding you more of the same.
But that’s not enough for me. Give me the taste of homemade realty. While the Web can be handy, I want to feel the ground beneath my bare feet, breathe in fresh air, and experience life firsthand.
Being nothing like physical life, the Internet is no more than a tool of our time. Convenient and powerful but needing to be taken in moderation, it’s good to grasp the reality that’s in our own hands not merely on the screen.
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