The Internet is getting staggeringly “large.” (How large? See this infographic.)
Though there are plenty of very smart people working very hard to make it easy for you to keep finding the things you’re looking for, as well as finding solutions to that conundrum librarians are especially acquainted with – finding the thing you didn’t know you were looking for – it is still getting increasingly difficult to find signal in the noise.
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that it is increasingly difficult to find what you’re looking for online. Of course there are (or were? wow) services like delicious. But the issue I’m talking about is signal to noise. There’s a ton of information on the net. As Carl Sagan would say in his Kermit-the-frog voice, “billions and billions of interwubs. How can we parse it, and find what we need? What about when we don’t even know what we need?
This problem is of course how Google has built its empire, especially when it paired this with the concept of ad placement. Every time Google puts out a product/service that helps with that, it seems to do well, and whenever they try to enter the social media sphere… well…
Here’s the situation. Maybe you can relate: I’m talking to a friend and want to find a video I saw the other night to show them. It takes thirty minutes trying to track down a video that I know is there. Kind of slows down the pace of the discussion, you know?
He says, “yeah, one day they will create algorithms that will make all of this easier.”
I think this is precisely the issue: this idea that we should just rely on machines to sort through the noise and somehow know what we’re looking for. That the entire brunt of the responsibility falls on our search devices. It’s a simplistic view of how information is structured, organized, and how we can deal with it in an increasingly complex, chaotic environment.
The problem is not a “lack of the right algorithms.” Let’s look at what it is: (Modern Mythology article.)
Perhaps this further emphasis the necessity of cultural curators in the digital space.