Search data only tells part of the story
Posted by smitht09052013
I understand what Qualman is getting at this week, that search data can be used for many things to make the world a better place. It does bother me that he conveniently leaves out that this information should be used with caution, since it only tells part of the story. His example of search trends between “Obama” and “McCain” before the presidential election indicates that they were searched for, but there is no information about what searchers were looking for, or when they looked at in the results. This information was introduced as valid, but potential limitations were only alluded to.
Qualman describes a future where we might use online voting, but I have strong reservations about that. Our current voting procedures are far from perfect, but at least most involve some sort of verifiable paper trail. Online voting would do away with that safeguard. I understand the excitement and convenience factors, but we need to make sure to proceed with caution. There is already a lot of potential for voter fraud under our current methods. I would hope that we hold off until we can guarantee that each vote is correctly accounted for before we proceed.
The Death of Social Schizophrenia was interesting to me. The chapter indicates that people are better off being comfortable with who they are rather than trying to be someone they are not, but then it provides several examples of people who paid the consequences for being genuine or sharing too much on social media. That seems like a contradiction to me. Then there was another example of an organization creating false accounts to screen potential job candidates, which to me seems like a different form of social schizophrenia. He advocates being comfortable with who you are, but also exercising strong self-censorship. That is probably good advice for anyone to follow.
The section on marketing hit home for me because I studied advertising in college. I appreciate the marketing philosophy of today because of the emphasis on being upfront and honest about the product. The prevalence of social media pretty much requires this approach if companies hope to succeed.
I’m a fan of online forums, and I have seen several companies pay the price for bad service, poor products, or false advertising. Almost no company is immune to the potential destructive power of social media. It is essential for them to operate more transparently and honestly, or they taunt the wraith of social media users.
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