Information without Meaning
“Tribune Co. said the story had received a "single visit" about 1 a.m. Eastern time Sunday but because traffic was so light to the site's business section at that hour, one click constituted "most viewed" status. Consequently, a new link was placed in the list of "most viewed" stories on the business page and the Google search crawler picked it up.
Google, in its own version of events published Wednesday on a company blog, said the problem began with the Sun Sentinel site. The site had given the United story no date stamp, the blog explained, so the search crawler looked for the only date available — the one that appears on every page of the site next to the Sun Sentinel masthead.
"The article failed to include a standard newspaper article dateline," the Google blog said. "but the Sun-Sentinel page had a fresh date above the article on the top of the page of 'September 7, 2008' [Eastern]."
What happened next is not in dispute. Traffic started to flow to the story from Google and eventually a Florida-based financial information company picked it up and posted it to the Bloomberg news service. United's stock plunged in response.”
We definitely don’t live in a Post-Information world but in a world that is dominated by meaningless information. And sometimes the lack of meaning and context leads to the strangest behavior.