Beki Grinter

Irene, Turks and Caicos and Google Search

In empirical, HCI, ICT4D, social media on August 24, 2011 at 10:22 am

A few weeks ago Hurricane Irene hit Turks and Caicos. I wanted to know how bad it had been because I went there a couple of years ago and thought it was beautiful.

So, I did what I often do, I typed in Irene and Turks and Caicos. Back came all these reports about the fact that it had passed through the country, reported by American newspapers and media outlets who mentioned that in passing on their lengthy stories about how it was going to impact the United States. There was one exception on the second page, a report from Cuba. This focused on how Irene had hit Turks and Caicos as part of reporting on its general track and that it was not headed to Cuba. One damage report did eventually surface, from the Bahamas.

I was reminded once again how search is not equal. Type in those three words and what you dominantly get is reports from the United States about the United States. I use Google each day for a variety of information needs. This was an important opportunity to calibrate once again on the importance of reflecting on the generation of information and its implications for what gets known.


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