Research is by its nature social. We build on one another’s ideas and we share ours publicly to keep the conversation going. But it’s not social the way Facebook is. Facebook is a data-gathering machine. It’s a blank slate on which we write so that they can aggregate and monetize what we freely share.
When I search, I don’t want what I wrote in an email or what I watched on YouTube to change what I find. Sure, there are places where my scholarly interests blur into my idle curiosity and into my social relationships. I also know that my choice of search terms and even the questions I decide to ask will be influenced by things I have read or conversations I’ve had. But somehow, I want search to be pure, not influenced by my own limitations and blind spots. I want to find what is out there, not what I’ve already expressed. I