So, first morning in St Lucia, I log onto my computer, and have an email from Trip Advisor suggesting best stuff to do in Soufriere St Lucia. Huh? How the heck does Trip Advisor know that I am in Soufriere, St Lucia?
So far, I have not joined the ranks of those worried about our online privacy. I thought it would be a good thing for Google to track our internet searches, I figured every time I search, it’d be like casting a vote for more intelligent media, for products and websites that are a force for good in the world. I still hope that is the case, but I am also seeing the downside more clearly now, and it is getting a little creepy.
Like when I did some research on latex mattresses. We bought one 15 years ago, and we love it, but now apparently they are all the rage and shopping for them is so excruciatingly complex, I just decided to keep the old one!
After a few searches, every website I looked at for the next 2 weeks had the same ads for latex mattresses! It was pretty funny. As sophisticated as they are at Google, once you see what they are doing, it gets a little silly and you tune out the ads.
IMHO, Travel research and booking online is also becoming a major waste of time. There is just too much noise out there. Too many reviews to read. Too many FAKE reviews to weed through. Too many opinions. Too many “experts”. Too many “best of” lists. Too many “must do” lists. I think if we calculated how many hours we spend doing online research to plan our next vacation, we’d be able to take a whole extra week OFF every year if we just called a trusted travel agent or tour operator and let them do their job!
The thing that concerns me the most, is the “bubble” the internet is creating around all of us. Feeding us only what it knows we like, reaffirming what we already know, and insulating us from any differing views. THAT, I think, is a huge problem for our society, and I do not know how we fix it. Maybe it will just play itself out? People will become more savvy, turn away from the internet, and go back to shopping at their corner store, and using a good ol’ travel agent to book their trips?