Friday, 23 November 2007

Don't be evil

Last night I went to see a stand-up comedian - Frank Skinner - at the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow. He was talking about Googling words, and stopped to wonder "how do you Google Google?" Not an original piece of comedy, granted, but it prompted me to try it today. Of course, if you Google Google, it just points you to the search engine, although my search yielded 3.4 billion returns, which shows how much we're talking about this phenomenon.

Then I remembered a conversation I had with a client last week (he'll be reading this, so hi, Steven!) when we agreed that the first place we both go to look up stuff now is Wikipedia. So I looked up Google on Wikipedia, and of course, that was much more helpful. For example, I didn't know what the Google slogan was, but I do now (it's the title of this post). Of course, there's always the possibility the Wikipedia entry is wrong ...

The thing is, as Wikipedia gets more sophisticated, you can recognise more authoritative content - where there are sources and citations. And more and more entries are populated with this more reliable content. I also like the way it keeps me constantly thinking "is that right?" or "why would they say that?". This is the sort of enquiring but sceptical approach we should take to everything, from every source. I've got a good example of this, but I'm going to save it for another post, as now I'm starting to ramble on a bit.

The illustrations of this post will be meaningless to anyone who hasn't seen Frank Skinner on his current tour. Anyone who has should hopefully recognise the spirit in which it is intended.


Jane Harris said...

G'aun yersel Kenny! Hope you are thriving. You look just the same as you did when you were twenty. Best wishes, Jane

Ken said...

Hi Jane, always good to hear from old friends. From what I hear of your literary endeavours, I'm surprised you're still looking at learning and development stuff - I thought you'd left all that far behind!