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Zeitgeist:  the spirit of the time; general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time.

 

510739969_f86276811f1While I was waiting for this weeks screencast to post, I checked out Monte’s link to Google Zeitgeist. I have always said I really like Google and am constantly amazed at its “intelligence,” but I think “like” just transitioned into utter amazement.  Basically, Google aggregates the of millions of searches received every day and provides the public with several tools to gain insight into global, regional, past and present trends. Its incredible how quickly you can examine these trends on just about everything. Google offers a glimpse (probably more than a glimpse) into our society and cultures abroad.

academyawardstatue2I wish I could have thought of something more profound to experiment with, but the OSCARS were on this past weekend (I’m film obsessed) so of course I searched winners, directors, filmmakers…etc. and was quite shocked at my findings.  For example, searching “Academy Awards” reveal predictable patterns (i.e. searchers increase right before the show airs), but there was hardly any searching in Europe.  Many filmmakers/academy members come from Europe and producers heavily campaign over there (especially during award season).  Also, Hollywood “celebrities” are searched far more globally when compared with the US.  However, US populations search entertainment websites much more than in other countries.  

I’m also thinking about doing a paper on the shifting public rhetoric surrounding LGBT civil rights.  The Google Trends Lab will be a great resource.  A quick search revealed public interest in “gay marriage rights” has dropped from 90 to 15 since 2004.  However, searching the film MILK (staring Sean Penn, also the winner for Best Actor), which focuses on Gay rights and the life of Harvey Milk, dramatically skews the findings about LGBT issues in the other direction.  

Anyways, I’ll stop my rambling about movies and let you give it a try.  I’m excited to see what John Battelle has to say about in his book The Search and what our class discussions will cover.

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