A recent college graduate I know recently found himself most unhappy in his new job. But was there something really wrong with the company he had had such high hopes for, or was it merely a case of the freshman blues? Where to turn for advice? Friends? Parents? Professors?
Why would I have been surprised that he went to the web? After all, that’s where you go for answers to almost anything these days. Sites like will help you with everything with to how to how to to additional tens of thousands of topics you would have to live a dozen lifetimes to even think about, not to mention care about. will provice guidance on that with your boyfriend. Other sites will even help you with how to believe in God.
So the web is changing the way we as a culture pass on critical insights about our lives .
I now better understand the importance of focus on web-based systems to manage and report of authority. After all, if we’re going to be making life-changing decisions based on something we found on the web, we should insist on it having at least some nominal level of credibility.
The first way to establish that credibility is to base it on the author’s credentials or experience. But that can be easily exaggerated or faked altogether. The second way is based on some kind of voting or popularity system. But what’s the value of the votes of a thousand members of the unwashed masses who can’t spell, much less think? And centralized systems of credentials or popularity will inevitably end up being gamed to a fatal degree.
A “dialog” with the web about our personal problems is really a “unilog”, a plaintive one-way cry of cyrptic search queries responded to by frozen text on the screen, incapable of either understanding our problem or explaning itself in more depth. It leads, in the end, to horrible decisions such as the one my acquaintance ended up taking–to put himself through the wrenching process of leaving the company he had joined a mere two weeks earlier.