Social Driven Search May Lead to Group Think

Google vs. Facebook seems to be the many topic of discussion these days around the Interwebs. Some studies show Facebook clearly dominating Google in terms of quantities of visitors (other resources don’t show this). Despite a decade and a half of proving that traffic does not equal success, everyone thinks Google is being dethroned by Facebook like Google dethroned Yahoo years ago.

Google is even feeling the “social” pressure and has responded with a myriad of social failures like Buzz and Wave. Still, Google has the best search engine, best email system, best video sharing system, etc. Facebook… You have your best friends (unless they are like the other 60% of Americans who either aren’t on Facebook or don’t use Facebook).

Do your friends really provide you with the “search results” that would truly interest you? Are your friends a replacement for searching the Internet?

I’d venture to guess that most people’s friends do provide them with topics, resources, etc. that they will be interested in. However, I’d also suggest that most people have a limited spectrum of friends. By that, I mean that like-minded liberals will hangout with each other. Same with conservatives, religious folks, etc.

So, if your news goes social, are you really going to get the full news? Look at someone who only watches MSNBC. Or someone who only watches Fox News. They have a very skewed perspective. Now, Fox argues it’s “Fair and Balanced”. MSNBC argues that Fox News isn’t and admits to having a liberal bias but adhering to a higher calling (got my shovel ready). Besides “The Daily Show“, I can’t think of any news show that actually provides an objective perspective on current events.

Socially skewed news and search results can lead to Groupthink, which is extremely dangerous when it comes to politics as well as limiting when it comes to problem resolution and research. This becomes particularly dangerous when it comes to news and social issues as it essentially places blinders on those performing searches on the Internet. One becomes tunnel visioned in his or her pursuit of knowledge because their social network dictates their search results.

Groupthink and tunnel vision can lead to mediocre and even disappointing results or failure. When outside perspectives are not put in front of us or the resources are not available to find such outside resources, our development is stifled. We become limited to our social network. If our social network claims that something cannot be done. We won’t do it. If our social network claims that something is wrong. It becomes wrong. When our social network claims that something is right. It becomes right.

In other words, if all roads lead to Rome, that’s exactly where we’re going to end up.

Still those with a different social network will find other rights and wrongs and what can and cannot be done. This means that now more than ever, one must expand his or her’s social network exposure. Broadening one’s social network to include both liberals, conservatives, states rights advocates, and others who are outside our normal spectrum is more important than ever. Otherwise, you could ultimately end up in a virtual (social network) cave.

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