Chris Bowers, campaign director for the Daily Kos, is launching a behind-the-scenes campaign against 98 House Republican candidates that attempts to capitalize on voters’ Google search habits in the hopes of influencing midterm races.
Bowers wants the Daily Kos’ thousands of participants to dig up little-noted or controversial news stories about the candidates that could hurt their chances with undecided voters. Users would click on the links and blog about the stories with the goal of boosting their rankings on search engines, so that undecided voters will discover them more easily.
Political leanings aside, this strikes me as both brilliant and terrifying at the same time.
Brilliant! Undecided voters are generally the one who go in search of information on candidates, as opposed to waiting for the voices of Fox News or MSNBC to tell them what to think. By understanding how those key voters will seek out information, Bowers has positioned his team to put the information most beneficial to their cause in the line of sight.
Terrifying! Like most other things in life, the Google must be questioned with what it brings you. There are biases in the algorithms used to power it, and Bowers it taking advantage of them. And, like most other things in life, the people who are most likely to use the tool are the ones least likely to really understand it.
We’ve talk at great length about Googling candidates and teammates. This is just another reason to be careful when sorting through the results.