The booklet explores the so-called social desirability bias and recent research findings which suggest that socially unaccepted topics are more likely to be searched for on online search machines instead of talking about them. A token persona – Ben – was created to look at the drastically different real life and online search behaviours.
A print publication featuring everyday activities of the fictional persona inform about the multiple layers of dissonance. Ben gets up in the morning, goes to work, comes back home – in-between are sheets of transparent paper, highlighting Google searches Ben conducts during the day. Personal concerns and delicate questions regarding one’s political views, internalised stereotypes or matters of sexuality are rather searched for on Google than to be openly discussed with others.
A following insert informs about the research and statistics in detail, presenting real data obtained from search engine databases. People google questions regarding their partners’ sexuality and alcohol problems, whether their children are obese, and whether terrorists are likely to share the same religion. The search requests reveal lots discriminating thought regarding gender, sexuality and racism, that is publicly deemed to be overcome.
“Everybody Lies”, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz (2017)