The article, The Fine Art of Bullshit: Killed by Google, appeared in my inbox this morning from Medium. It has a quite amusing conceit and is a fun read for the 2–3 minutes it takes. The author tries to show the difference that smart phones and 24×7 Internet access makes to conversation. The “discussion”? Someone suggests that Steven Tyler and Mary Tyler Moore are brother and sister. In 1994, there is no conclusion. An argument rages; the protagonists try all kinds of ways to find out, but fail. And they spent quite some time doing this.
Contrast 1994 with 2014: someone offers the possibility of this sibling relationship. Everyone immediately goes online and, within seconds, confirms that it’s not true. That, as far as this author is concerned, is the end of it. In my opinion: not the case.
What happens these days is that disputes about fact can indeed be quickly resolved. However, that does not kill the conversation. It broadens into other areas; maybe about MTM’s best movies, or Aerosmith’s worst songs, or something entirely different. Today’s instant access to information may kill the bullshit, but it does not kill the conversation. It enriches it.