I have spent the past five years peeking into people’s insides. I have been studying aggregate Google search data. Alone with a screen and anonymous, people tend to tell Google things they don’t reveal to social media.
While spending five years staring at a computer screen learning about some of human beings’ strangest and darkest thoughts may not strike most people as a good time, I have found the honest data surprisingly comforting. I have consistently felt less alone in my insecurities, anxieties, struggles and desires.
Once you’ve looked at enough aggregate search data, it’s hard to take the curated selves we see on social media too seriously. Or, as I like to sum up what Google data has taught me: We’re all a mess.
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz writing in the New York Times