What drove me to write today is the kind of websites or news suggestions I get from Google. I see a plethora of obscene vulgar headlines about celebrities written to catch eyeballs. I have often instructed Google to not show me such articles, but they crop up on the browser every now and then. You know, I am a young, enthusiastic, driven blogger who is out there kickstarting his career by talking and spreading good. However, what I see around me is filth and the filth is being consumed in huge amount. I know, even I must have read few of such articles, and that’s how Google understands what I want. But trust me, I don’t want to see such articles. I may have stumbled upon them and probably read a few of them. But Google is misunderstanding me. It thinks I am majorly about that. It doesn’t know that 95% of me doesn’t want that or wants different things. There is a great force driving the consumption of such content and Google is just painting the whole town red with “what it thinks we want”. Which is wrong.
Creating obscene, below the belt content is not only a phenomenon that is associated with cheap, crass bloggers, what surprises me is that even good, reputed websites are creating such stories. The internet is full of such agenda driven and below the belt content. I am not saying that every news website is like this. What I am saying is that majority of the websites have such an element that is created specifically to grab eyeballs. Is it bad? See, for a grow up like me, I would simply ignore such things. For me, I don’t even find such stories objectionable, to me they are purely juvenile and even boring. But when I realize that not everyone is my age, my maturity, my background, I really wonder how such stories are consumed. Is this the literature that the current generation is growing up reading. And what I understand from my little bit of research is that such bloggers earn a decent income which fuels their ambition to get on with whatever they are doing.
The way I look at it is that money is making us serve crap. Whatever is selling is being created and produced. And the problem is that it is happening in abundance and with full impunity in the garb of freedom of expression. I am not being moralistic when I say this shouldn’t happen. I am just being commonsensical. That’s why there is some nobility in creating wealth by doing good. And not by doing anything.
I strongly believe that such sites should be ranked lower and lower in search results despite the high number of views they get. Google must develop a mechanism to understand what is good for us and serve us that instead of just profiling us based on few past searches. Google needs to be able to distinguish good versus bad content and penalize such stories or content creators by taking appropriate actions. Google should send out a message that talking about silly things is boring and in professional terms “not recommended”.
Many would argue that Google serves what you earlier searched for. That, there is a supply and demand for this, and it is perfectly economically balanced. To them, I would say that the answer is not so simple. It is often the case of supply creating the demand, and then the demand grows, which is met with further supply.
To the creators
I would urge the creators to create things with a good purpose. Before putting out anything, just pause and see how it could impact others. If you think what you are doing is not having any impact or is having a negligible impact, a price that you think you can pay for few bucks and still be morally upright, then think again. Everyone who reads content is moved. It triggers something in them, if not immediately but it does. And people are what they read. So, if you write stupid things, people move towards stupidity. If you write good things, people move towards goodness. Each and every word has an effect, no matter how insignificant that may sound to you, but it is true. The word “good” is important. This is perhaps the most important word. This word is more important than words like freedom of expression, right, liberty, equality etc. Let’s all understand that.