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The Second Superpower — Googlewashing

Is worldwide public opinion, or more precisely, a “Second Superpower,” wielding the power to make or break international foreign policy regarding the conduct of the Iraq war? In The Register, analyst Andrew Orlowski explains that is less important than how the phrase came into general use, and was transformed, almost overnight as a result of blogging and the virtually instantaneous transmission of global information made possible by the Internet.

Saying that what started out as an Orwellian reference from 1984 has been repurposed in just 42 days from an anti-war analysis (in the N.Y Times) into a politically-neutered description of the information commons, Orlowski concludes that this sort of “Googlewashing” is permitting a relatively small handful of bloggers to “disappear” information for the masses:

Although it took millions of people around the world to compel the Gray Lady to describe the anti-war movement as a “Second Superpower,” it took only a handful of webloggers to spin the alternative meaning to manufacture sufficient PageRank™ to flood Google with Moore’s alternative, neutered definition. Indeed, if you were wearing your Google-goggles, and the search engine was your primary view of the world, you would have a hard time believing that the phrase “Second Superpower” ever meant anything else. To all intents and purposes, the original meaning has been erased. Obliterated, in just seven weeks.

So, there you have it. Not only does Google allow people to get information more quickly than ever before, it also allows people to lose information more quickly than ever before!!

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