Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Google searching

Poor Robert Santorum.  His campaign can't get a break.  And they could benefit from some serious work with Google to clear up their search terms!  This article from the Detroit Free Press shows what can happen if someone in the public eye doesn't pay attention to what shows up on Google. 

It seems a few years back a columnist challenged readers to define the senator's last name.  The winning entry was a very vulgar definition but because so many people went to look it up on Google, now it's the first entry when you look for Santorum.  (Okay, I know you want to look so click here.)  His campaign website is about the 4th entry down.  In the best of all possible worlds, his campaign site should be the first entry. Now he has a small staff and I'm sure they are stretched thin trying to do everything, but if t were my campaign, this would be a high priority. 

So what does this campaign story have to do with literacy education?  My dear friend and library consultant, Megan Cooper, originally tweeted the link.  Her suggestion was this article is an excellent example to show teachers how invalid Google searching alone can be when researching.  Now my disclaimer--DO NOT SHOW THIS TO STUDENTS in any way, shape or form. It is NOT APPROPRIATE.  But it might show teachers why just relying on one search engine for all your information or letting students loose to find whatever when they are researching can be dangerous.

Other bogus websites exist for the purpose of teaching students the need for validating a website (the tree octopus is a great one!) but this news story is an excellent example of a current event that just might hit home for teachers.

And please, Senator Santorum, take some time to develop your website and hopefully you can move it to the top of the Google results page.

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