Civilisations were lost and became ‘mysterious’ because of this effect.
The ‘memory’ we have of history is distorted by the influence of such ‘winners’.
We may be in the right position to change this now.
But what comes into play in this sense?
What do we have to do so that our ‘winners’ don’t spoil our future from here?
How to keep a clear view of all things that matter, to everyone, in our past?
1- Private vs. Public – who has our data?
The question that grows as the Internet evolves is “who holds the data?” and “who controls it?”
More and more people are adding their information to private platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest or a Blogging service, etc. This information is then “organised” by another private service such as Google, which in some cases will store much content themselves (books, emails, etc.).
Governments then have their own systems with statistical information, documentation, and very “private” details of citizens.
So who fulfils the role of the “public library” these days? Who will be an open access storage space for what is important in human history? THE INTERNET ARCHIVE is going in that direction.
Fact is there will always be a clash between private and public, as it always has been, but what happens now is a higher level of confusion to the average user.
Users in many cases are not sure of where their data is, and that in many cases they are feeding the content of another system (such as Instagram) and if that system closes down all that they have there is immediately lost.
It is in the hands of this user the responsibility to keep what is of value to him/her. But fact is no one actually does that, and possibly never will, so it comes down to the ‘luck’ of winners vs. losers to see what data we have left in the end.
2- Who selects what is important? do they do it right?
The vast Internet is just too overwhelming for a regular mortal being to venture into. Help is needed, of course, but what moves the engines of help?
MONEY is the short answer.
Even beyond the “sponsored” search results, money is moving everything else in there. It is an illusion to think that money will not play its part at some point down the line.
With a few exceptions such as Wikipedia, most content is being driven to reach a certain specific goal – most likely sales. This cycle of marketing oriented content is transforming much of what we find in the Internet into a promoted jungle.
It is understandable that relevance has its value. If many people interact and link to a certain content or site, the chance that it is something relevant for everyone else is pretty big. But then we fall into the “pit” of uninformed people curating content from other uninformed people, resulting in “trash content” being very relevant in the internet, and even false information being spread.
Curation of content has enormous value but also takes enormous resources. Since the world today is so Fast Paced, who will have the time to curate content over the internet? Maybe Wikipedia does a bit of that, but even there we find much content that is not true, not precise, not well edited, and misinformed.
Again, it goes back to users themselves to grow into curating their own content.
USERS are the ones who must be INTELLIGENT ENOUGH to select what is real, and what is important, from what is trash and irrelevant.
3- The “google it” effect will make us dumb and numb?
YES and NO.
Yes because it will keep those of us with a tendency to be dumb and numb thinking they are intelligent and well informed. To those people, the access to a quick search into what Google says is important gives immense sense of power and enough fulfilment of the intellectual curiosity.
No because it will still not be enough to hold back those people truly interested and intelligent. Whoever asks more and more, and goes deeper into subjects will continue to do so despite the “google it” effect.
There is even a chance that the people in the “numb” side of things will move into the “interested” side as a result of being a little more involved into what is happening around them, by effect of searching into engines when needed. There is the chance of social inclusion and a “rescue” of those coming from a “less curious” approach into life.
The issue still spins around what the search engine delivers. Is it really the most relevant and important content in the subject? does the user even know how to properly search? does the user even care? should he care? – this is what I call the “winner tells the story” effect.
4- The “Winner Tells The Story” effect – we need help against that
When people that take “the winner” as a truth and a search result as the ultimate knowledge hit a wall of debate and are unable to discuss further, they will feel a “bitter taste” in their mouth.
This “bad taste” will be the trigger for them to feel dumb, and they will include “the winner” in the reason why they are dumb, bringing the value of their finding down, weariness against “the winner” and ultimately a reluctance in accepting further value towards the search “winner” being actually relevant.
The big problem is that all of this is in the hands of the user. The individual. The island of cells that needs to figure things out for itself. And that island needs help. All of us, islands, do.
It is important to keep an eye out for the tricks in play. Big companies trying to pitch to us what is truly important. Important to whom? why? in which context? and we should keep going on the questioning.
Not being afraid to ask is a great first step. And then not being afraid to ask again, and again, until we get to the bottom of things.
Yes, this is a “we, the users” moment. Because it has to be. When there is a culture of giving value to what deserves value, the trash will wash away “naturally” and we will navigate in a cleaner digital realm.
Let’s change the “winner tells story” effect.
Investigate further on your side, I’ll do the same.