December 2012-The Holiday Season We Won’t Forget
The 2012 prediction is going to give rise to one hell of a Christmas time during that year, but not for the reason so many people with death wishes believe-or hope for. Indeed, if there is any Christmas that is going to be disappointing for these individuals, it will be that of 2012.
But this is not a post that will be directly dealing with the fictitious nature of the 2012 prophecy (you can find plenty of factual refreshments at NASA’s website, particularly the scientist David Morrison who ‘specializes’ in dealing with this, well, nonsense). It will deal with another kind of ‘dark side’ of SEO (and search engine use in general) that bears a striking resemblance to the adage “Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after” by Jonathan Swift.
The End Of The World 2012, A Search Engine’s Perspective
I did a search for “2012 facts” on both Google and Bing, and what I found was, to put it professionally and without going into a rant about our nation’s lack of general scientific literacy and/or curiosity, quite disheartening:
Sorry if it seems like the screen captures are somewhat excessive, but I think getting a nice chunk is necessary to my point: the results that show up for “2012 facts” are not facts in any way, as a quick gleaning of the results will show (assuming you’re actually open to discussion on this matter and not so eager for everything to end on an arbitrarily selected date). May I point out the link from “UFODigest” as a clear sign of these sources’ missing credibility? Considering nearly all alleged UFO experts are easily tricked by flares and a balloon, you can expect that that community would be equally duped by the ‘authoritative’ statements involving the Mayan calendar, missing planets, dark rifts, solar storms, the Milky Way, Nostradamus, meteors, asteroids, earthquakes, tidal waves, and radiation-all of which play a part in one, some, or all of the versions of the 2012 doomsday prediction.
Now consider a person who happens to be the ideal average Internet user in the sense that s/he has only a 10% chance of going past the first results page, and s/he searches for “2012 Facts” with the intent of getting some quick, hopefully accurate takes on the matter (c’mon now…who doesn’t do this with a variety of topics nowadays? I know I sure do). S/he is going to get, and I will not pull my punches here, a load of crap because the 2012 prophecy’s falsehoods are far more optimized, and searched for, than what is really going to happen in 2012: nothing-or, at least, nothing involving dark rifts and crazy astrology that will kill us all (I suspect viruses and nuclear weapons, among other things, are more than capable of doing the job, and December 21st 2012 is not a needed ingredient for them to work and they’re always ready!). The 2012 prediction seems like it has been elevated to the status of plausible due to search engines’ algorithms.
Searching for “2012 Debunked”, on the other hand, is a bit more uplifting, but I will let you search for it and find out for yourself should you be on the fence (it’s not much of a fence to be on…believe me). Still, this requires that someone already have a skeptical mindset at the outset with regard to the 2012 prophecy, which is a bit unlikely considering all the extra buzz this garbage is getting because of the film and its .org website (which I refuse to link to, as you can see). I know, I know-it’s just a movie and people ought to know the difference between movies and reality. But considering how popular belief in the world’s destruction in the year 2012 is, I do not think this simple yet important distinction is going to be made as readily as it usually is. It wouldn’t surprise me if the film started being cited as evidence in not too long, for we all know that computer generated images do not lie, ever.
My 2012 Prediction
The 2012 fiasco goes to show everyone that as useful and essential as search engines are, they are still search engines and will work the way search engines will work. They are not substitutes for critical thought; they are its complementary tools. When trying to get to the bottom of an incredibly popular (viral?) movement that involves the end of time, government cover-ups and conspiracies, and films whose story writers probably took a hike the moment the special effects people showed up, you need to do what you can on your own to figure things out, such as search for real experts on whatever the focus of the issue is (and probably start using different search terms as well that include ‘debunked’, ‘unveiled’, etc). What turns up for the “2012 Facts” query is on the first page because it is optimized, not because it is true. Optimization does not equal truth, especially when we’re talking about Doomsday.
Oh, right-I still have my 2012 prediction to give. On December 21st, 2012, I predict that there will be millions of unfulfilled death wishes, typical holiday hysteria, a discrediting of the deadliness of the Mayan calendar (I never knew we liked them all of a sudden; should we bring back their gods also??), some sun and wind and weather and nighttime, and a galaxy that, all and all, will continue doing its thing as it has done for billions of years.