Causal Rewrite-jokerthefool

What our searches after shootings say about us

Analyzing search trends after violent crimes provides insight into the intentions of the people searching. There are distinct groups created after a polarizing event happens. Some people search because they want to know more about the event, others search because they want to write about it, and others search because they want to prove their friends wrong. After a violent shooting blamed on video games happens, there is an increase in searches for topics like “gun control”, “video games”, and “shootings”, because people want to gather information for their own day to day arguments. Each of our key-words are searched in varying levels, depending on the group. Evidence suggest that not all of these groups are affected when a violent crime occurs because they don’t have a need for the information the internet offers.

The first group of people, who just want general information are the easiest to identify and examine. Their intentions are the easiest to guess at as well. They want information about violent crimes because they like finding out the information for themselves. After a shooting that happens, that’s blamed on video games they tend to react the least. These people don’t really care about what the shooting was blamed, they just want to know what the “what” is. For the most part, they also just want to be in the know of things that are happening in the United States. This group is created from anything big happening. There is always a hunger for information that people naturally have, regardless of whether that information is accurate. This is how fake news is spread often, because people simply want information of some kind relating to a topic. After a violent crime, this group tends to be the one’s searching for “shooting” the most, as they only have limited information and want more. For example someone unfamiliar with the Parkland incident in 2017, would likely search “Florida shooting”.

The second group, is the group of people who search to write about, or report the topics. Now this group is interesting because they are created for a purpose. The last group didn’t necessarily have a purpose outside of simply acquiring information, regardless of what the information entails. This group searches the most and for the sole purpose of getting the most accurate information. Most people who report on, or write about a subject want to have reliable information so they will obviously do quite a bit of searching. This group is also less interested in the “what” unless they are writing specifically about that. This group is significant because they are the group that takes information for their own benefit. The first group is mostly focused on acquiring some kind of information, while this group acquires accurate information that backs up their own opinion. A good example of this is news outlets. They will acquire accurate information of events, but may tweak what the causes, or effects are of the event to suite the message they are trying to send to their audience. A more right leaning outlet may focus less on ideas like gun control because they don’t even want that topic coming up. Now this group is the group that focuses the most of their searches on terms like “gun control”, “mental health”, and “shooting”. They want to see a correlation between these terms so that they can either include them in their own argument, or leave them out if they don’t agree with their point of view.

The last group of people is the group that searches to bolster their own personal arguments. Now this group isn’t writing for any outlet, or paper, so they don’t tend to be focused too much on accurate information. In fact, they mostly search for terms and ideas that only support their argument, not even acknowledging the other side for the most part. This group tends to search for all the key terms because they want to find a link of any kind between the terms in order to make their personal arguments sounder. This group searches the most out of any group because they are the group that makes up a majority of the searches. Directly after a violent crime happens that’s blamed on violent media, people either take the side of for or against. Are video games to blame for a violent crime, or is that a bunch of crap? People storm the internet searching not only for the answer, but one that satisfies them. It’s honestly extremely logical if we consider how many people want to prove themselves right. Especially if they are in an argument with their friends, or family about a topic. This is why the search trends increase so much after big shootings like the Sandy Hook, Parkland, and Las Vegas shootings.

 

 

References

Kilgarriff, Adam, et al. “DIACRAN: A Framework for Diachronic Analysis.” Lexical Computing, 2013.

Ramat, Anna Giacalone, et al. Synchrony and Diachrony: a Dynamic Interface. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2013, books.google.com/books?id=YdnA6nBjXjAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=isbn:9027272077&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiQj6TkzY7eAhUyTd8KHQIXBiAQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Rogers, Simon. “What Is Google Trends Data – and What Does It Mean?” Medium, Google News Lab, 1 July 2016, medium.com/google-news-lab/what-is-google-trends-data-and-what-does-it-mean-b48f07342ee8.

Campbell, C. (2018, March 10). A brief history of blaming video games for mass murder. Retrieved November 28, 2018, from https://www.polygon.com/2018/3/10/17101232/a-brief-history-of-video-game-violence-blame

 

Bibliography-jokerthefool

“How Instincts Relate to the Collective Unconscious”

Content: The Collective Unconscious is a deeper mind that is inherited from genetics, and isn’t shaped by personal experience. Meaning there are deep seated idea, beliefs, or instincts that we have that don’t come from our own lives. The personal unconscious by contrast is the repressed or forgotten memories that come from one’s forgotten experiences.

How it was used: This source was included to argue that we as a society have an instinctual drive to connect ideas, and prove ourselves correct. This isn’t a learned behavior, in fact it may come from something outside of our own experience, like the collective unconscious.

“Violent Video Games and Aggression”

Content: Studies show that violent video games can lead to an increase in aggressive thoughts, behaviors, and patterns. Violence is a form of aggression, but not all aggressive behaviors can be considered violent. Due to lack of re-searchable subjects its impossible to conclude that violent video games lead to an increase in lethal violence, just because it leads to an increase in aggression.

How it was used: This knowledge was applied to show that despite the fact that many agree that video games don’t directly lead to lethal violence, there is still a hole in the studies done that suggest that it could lead to that. It’s meant to show that there is room for people to argue both sides of this issues with people around them. They would take to the internet searching for sources like this one in order to prove themselves right.

“Everybody lies: How Google search reveals our darkest secrets”

Content: People lie less the more impersonal the means of the collecting the information. Social desirability bias is the idea that we lie about traits, our performance, or our beliefs in order to be more desirable to those around us. However, when people google search they are much more honest with what they believe, because there is nobody to potentially judge them. Through studying searches the truth is revealed about what people believe about sex, hate and prejudice, femininity, and sexuality.

How it was used: This source was used to show that conducting an analysis using people’s web searches is valid. It can grant real insight into how people think and what they believe. Since people tend to lie less when they search online, it can give us ideas about what their intentions are when they search for “gun control” after a lethal shooting.

DIACRAN: A Framework for Diachronic Analysis

Content: Linguist use diachronic analysis in order to study the evolution of language. There must be keywords, a corpus, and a formula for gauging how interesting each of the keywords are. Data can then be extrapolated to look at high gradients, correlations, or frequencies how words to study if a set of words are still widely used or not.

How it was used: An argument had to be made that analyzing google trends was a study. This was the most similar study to analyzing google trends data. Therefore it needed to be argued that using google trends was a form of diachronic analysis. Each of the three pieces needed were translated in terms of google trends. This was then used to draw a conclusion on how frequent certain phrases are being used, and by extension, argued about by google users.

” Synchrony and Diachrony: a Dynamic Interface”

Content: Synchrony and Diachrony have a relationship to one another, and studying that can grant insight into better ways to study language. Synchronic variation may be a catalyst for diachronic change.

How it was Used: This source was used to learn more about diachrony as diachronic analysis is a form of it. It was also used to learn generally more about linguist and see if a clear connection can be formed between the study of language and the study of internet searches. It turns out that they are very similar and can be studied in a similar fashion.

“What Is Google Trends Data – and What Does It Mean?”

Content: Google Trends is a real time tool used to see people’s searches all over the world. Trends is anonymous and unbiased. It accurately displays the numbers out of 100, that show how interested the public is in a certain topic, phrase, or word. Putting multiple graphs over one another is a good way to put the numbers into perspective and give a general gist of how “important” the word is.

How it was Used: This source was used to explain how the numbers relate to interest in certain topics. Once the numbers are put into content it shows the magnitude of the people searching for certain phrases and topics. This shows just how prevalent certain ideas, like gun control, are in the minds of google searches, especially after violent shootings blamed on violent media.

“Can Video Games Cause Violence? “

Content: The subject lies in an area of grey. It is hard to determine whether or not there is a true connection because there are problems with the ways the studies are conducted. For one there is no clear way to measure “aggression” or a clear cut definition of what the word means in the studies. Some scientist are also prone to publication bias, meaning they agree with their work more often because it’s there’s. Furthermore, how much correlation is needed between video games and aggression for it to be considered bad? These are issues and questions that leave the study in an area of grey with no real conclusion.

How it was Used: This source was used to identify the issues with the studies. Numerous other sources state that no other conclusions can be gathered besides “video games to lead to an increase in aggression, but aggression doesn’t necessarily mean violence.” This source explains why that is the case. This shows why people are so uncertain about the studies that say video games don’t cause violence, and feel the need to fill in the information themselves.

“A brief history of blaming video games for mass murder”

Content: Of the multiple mass shootings that have happened over the years, only four have been accused of having a connection to consumption of violent media. This includes the shootings at Columbine, Heath High School, Sandy Hook, and Parkland. There is a continued push for video games to be blamed for violent behavior despite there being no evidence to support that.

How it was Used: This source was used to build a timeline and compare it to searches in google trends. Google trends can show the searches over a period of time, so it stands to reason that if we examine key words at the times of these mass shootings we can see if there is a correlation between people searching for information about gun control, and shooting, if that shooting is blamed on violent media.

“The Effect of Online Violent Video Games on Levels of Aggression”

Content: Video games are widely the most consumed form of entertainment. Violent video games in particular are the most consumed genre of video games. Many believe that there is a public health risk as video games may have an affect on levels of consumer aggression. There is a positive correlation between those who consume violent video games and their aggression levels. However, there is not enough evidence to suggest that violent video games lead to any else, including a decrease in social behavior.

How it was used: This source was used to help depict the gap in knowledge that the studies have. Not only one, but multiple studies admit to there not being enough evidence to draw more than one conclusion about video games and violence. In fact, it’s hard to draw any more because more research can’t really be done about video games relation to lethal violence. This explains why people have the need to fill in the gaps themselves with their own searches and opinions.

“Positive Effects of Negative Publicity”

Content: Negative publicity can be used in a positive manner when selling products. Using econometric analysis and experimental methods, it can be argued that negative publicity on certain products will actually increase the sales of the product.

How it was used: This source is important because it’s what shifted the entire argument to no longer be focused on this subject. Originally, the argument was going to focus on how people in positions of power say controversial things in order to garner attention. This source truly displayed how that line of thinking wasn’t going anywhere.

 

Reflective-jokerthefool

Core Value 1. My work demonstrates that I used a variety of social and interactive practices that involve recursive stages of exploration, discovery, conceptualization, and development.

The work I did in my Research Paper was definitely a recursive process of exploration and discovery. For the first few weeks of the class I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to write about. In fact, I simply just chose something for my initial idea because I wanted to have something. However, after conducting some research I was able to reach my current topic of studying google trends and school shootings. This is a far more interesting topic and I’ve been able to explore and learn about just how far ideas can take me if I ask the right questions. I went through multiple stages where I didn’t feel like my ideas may not have went anywhere, but with the right questions I realized my writing can be taken further.

Core Value 2. My work demonstrates that I read critically, and that I placed texts into conversation with one another to create meaning by synthesizing ideas from various discourse communities. 

When it comes to reading critically and placing text into conversion with one another, it was a skill I was able to showcase the most in my Stone Money piece. Admittedly, I’m not the fondest of my work in this piece, but that’s only because I could definitely add more to it. I did however read several sources critically and then place those point of views against each other in that paper. I was also able to work on bringing together those point of views in order to create my own point of view. Despite being influenced by these other sources, I worked on having my own unique perspective that was different than the other sources.

Core Value 3. My work demonstrates that I rhetorically analyzed the purpose, audience, and contexts of my own writing and other texts and visual arguments.

My Visual Rhetoric was made purposely for the process of analyzing a visually argument. This type of argument was something new to me,  I never had the opportunity or chance to break down visual arguments in an analytic fashion. Despite being new to this I was able to thoroughly throw myself into this process and learn to appreciate minute details that authors include in their work. Many people aren’t able to pick on these small details, and it’s an extremely useful skill to have when it comes understanding an argument. Every sentence, or scene, should have meaning, and being able to analyze others works just makes it easier to craft my own arguments in a similar fashion.

Core Value 4: My work demonstrates that I have met the expectations of academic writing by locating, evaluating, and incorporating illustrations and evidence to support my own ideas and interpretations.

The Definition Rewrite I wrote really incorporates illustrations to support my ideas. The entire idea of using google trends to analyze violent shootings is reliant upon graphs and charts. This process had made me realize that just incorporating these images is infinitely easier than trying to describe them to my audience. In an earlier draft of that paper I attempted to just describe what they look like, and this wasted so much time that I could be spent adding ideas and claims to my argument. It was then I had the simplest idea of just adding the illustration and that picture did in fact save me “1000 words” . I’m now much more willing to just include these types of images from the start as it will just save me time and wasted effort.

Core Value 5. My work demonstrates that I respect my ethical responsibility to represent complex ideas fairly and to the sources of my information with appropriate citation. 

My Research Paper is the best example I have of my ethical responsibility. I definitely tried to convey complex ideas in as few words as possible while still giving credit to the original source. Especially so because the first third of my research papers spends a lot of time trying to explain how we can use a lingual process called diachronic analysis to analyze google trends. Now I’m not an expert language or linguistics so I cited people who are so their ideas and words could convey what I wanted in as simple of means as possible. Of course I properly cited these people because I would never want to pass off those ideas as my own, because they are complex and multifaceted.

Definition Rewrite-jokerthefool

Google Trends: A diachronic analysis in the making

In order to use Google Trends to analyze violent shootings in America, we need to become linguists, tracking how often the words “violent video games” occur, for example, after each tragic school shooting. Google Trends lets us compare the number of such phrases searched over a length of time. When we analyze the differences of searches before and after violent shootings, we’re being amateur linguists using diachronic analysis to research whether we seek a connection between violent shootings and violent media.

The first step in using diachronic analysis to investigate what’s on the mind of the web searchers is a “corpus 1.” The second, according to Adam Kilgarriff in “DIACRAN: a framework for diachronic analysis,” is a “formula for ranking how interesting each word is,” Lastly, we need the key words to study. Google Trends gives us all the tools we need to conduct  a diachronic analysis and to discover if we-as a culture-seek this connection.

The key-words are the easiest piece to see. “Consumption of violent media has no correlation to violent crimes.” This is a tiresome conclusion that has been reached time and time again through countless studies. However, what is odd is that shootings like the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, or the Parkland shooting in February 2017, were both blamed on violent media (more specifically video games), despite those conclusions. When pursuing why this was the case Google Trends came into play. Google Trends revealed that web searchers were looking for terms like “gun control”, “ violent shooting”, and “video games.” These are the key words in our own diachronic analysis. Google Trends shows all of its data as line graphs.

When searching a term like “gun control” there are notable spikes in December 2012, and February 2017, around the time that the Sandy Hook and Parkland shootings happened. This shows that the public had a notable interest in the idea of gun control around the time of these violent crimes that were blamed on the consumption of violent media.

The second piece is the corpus. A corpus is a random body of text that’s being examined for the study. In our case with Google Trends, we can compare how interested google users are in our key-words to more common phrases like “sports”. Data journalist Simon Rogers explains on “Google News Lab” that “to get a sense of relative size, we can add additional terms, which helps put that search interest into perspective…” This creates a scale for our key word which can act as our corpus. Now Google Trends have numbers out of 100 that rank how interested google users are in topics. In December of 2012 the term “sports” was given an interest rank of 92, while “shooting” was given a interest rank of 95. Meaning that google users were more interested in shootings compared to sports. This shows that there is a significant amount of people who are interested in finding a connection between violent shootings and violent media. The spikes that we see in the graph are around the times of the Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, and Parkland shootings, two of which were blamed on violent media.

Finally, we need a means of gauging how interesting each word is. We have a means of measuring how interested the public is in each phrase when comparing phrases to one another. However, we need to decide what phrases are most suited for our purpose of exploring if we crave to search for a connection. One thing to note is that the Las Vegas shooting is a bit of an outlier. Despite not being blamed on violent media, it is one of the top ten things searched on google in 2017. It’s being included as a means of measuring how interesting our media blamed shootings are to google users. “Shooting” is a good baseline, but we see spikes at multiple places when big incidents happened but most notably around the times of the Las Vegas, Parkland, and Sandy Hook shootings. “Gun control” appears to be a much weaker phrase as around the time of these crimes there was only a interest rating of 3-5 (compared to sports 80-90 rating).  However, it’s important to keep in mind that this is being compared to phrases that are heavily searched. This shows that there is a significant portion of google users who are interested in the term gun control. This establishes that gun control is a phrase that is in the mind of the collective unconscious. 

When we switch out the phrase gun control for video game we see something similar where we have small spikes in interest around the times of the Sandy Hook and Parkland shootings. Looking at these charts it’s apparent that we-as internet searchers- are fairly interested in the connection between video games and violent shootings committed by teens. This evidence suggest that despite the countless studies done that say there is no correlation, that either that information isn’t well spread, or people have a reason why they’re searching these terms.

All in all, using Google Trends is just another means of conducting a diachronic analysis. It can grant insight into the relationship between blaming violent crimes on media and search trends of google users. In fact, it shows that google users are interested in the relationship and actively take a roll in investigating themselves.

References:

Kilgarriff, Adam, et al. “DIACRAN: A Framework for Diachronic Analysis.” Lexical Computing, 2013.

Ramat, Anna Giacalone, et al. Synchrony and Diachrony: a Dynamic Interface. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2013, books.google.com/books?id=YdnA6nBjXjAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=isbn:9027272077&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiQj6TkzY7eAhUyTd8KHQIXBiAQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Rogers, Simon. “What Is Google Trends Data – and What Does It Mean?” Medium, Google News Lab, 1 July 2016, medium.com/google-news-lab/what-is-google-trends-data-and-what-does-it-mean-b48f07342ee8.

Campbell, C. (2018, March 10). A brief history of blaming video games for mass murder. Retrieved November 28, 2018, from https://www.polygon.com/2018/3/10/17101232/a-brief-history-of-video-game-violence-blame

Research-jokerthefool

Our need to analyze violent shootings

In order to use Google Trends to analyze violent shootings in America, we need to become linguists, tracking how often the words “violent video games” occur, for example, after each tragic school shooting. Google Trends lets us compare the number of times such phrases are searched over a length of time. When we analyze the differences of searches before and after violent shootings, we’re being amateur linguists using diachronic analysis to research whether we seek a connection between violent shootings and violent media.

The first step in using diachronic analysis to investigate what’s on the mind of the web searchers is to compile a “corpus 1,” a set of terms can evaluate over time. For this paper, the corpus 1 consists of words relating to gun violence and video games. The second, according to Adam Kilgarriff in “DIACRAN: a framework for diachronic analysis,” is a “formula for ranking how interesting each word is,” where the most interesting words are those that appear frequently, change, and stay changed. Lastly, we need the key words to study. Google Trends gives us all the tools we need to conduct a diachronic analysis and to discover if we—as a culture—seek a connection between, in our case, violent shootings and violent media.

The key-words are the easiest piece to see. Google Trends reveal that, following the mass shootings at Parkland and Sandy Hook, web searchers were looking for terms like “Gun Control,” “Violent Shooting,” and “Video Game,” the key words in our own diachronic analysis. The well-researched conclusion, reached time and time again, that “Consumption of violent media has no correlation to violent crimes,” has never prevented web searches from seeking such a connection. As usual, the shootings at Sandy Hook in December 2012 and at Parkland in February 2017 were blamed on violent media (more specifically on video games), despite repeated and convincing refutations on that theory. However, what is odd is that shootings like the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, or the Parkland shooting in February 2017, were both blamed on violent media (more specifically video games), despite these conclusion.

When searching a term like “gun control” there are notable spikes in December 2012, and February 2017, around the time that the Sandy Hook and Parkland shootings happened. This shows that the public had a notable interest in the idea of gun control around the time of these violent crimes that were blamed on the consumption of violent media.I

The second piece is the corpus. A corpus is a random body of text that’s being examined for the study. In our case with Google Trends, we can compare how interested google users are in our key-words to more common phrases like “sports”. Data journalist Simon Rogers explains on “Google News Lab” that “to get a sense of relative size, we can add additional terms, which helps put that search interest into perspective…” This creates a scale for our key word which can act as our corpus. Now Google Trends have numbers out of 100 that rank how interested google users are in topics. In December of 2012 the term “sports” was given an interest rank of 92, while “shooting” was given a interest rank of 95. Meaning that google users were more interested in shootings compared to sports. This shows that there is a significant amount of people who are interested in finding a connection between violent shootings and violent media. The spikes that we see in the graph are around the times of the Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, and Parkland shootings, two of which were blamed on violent media.

Finally, we need a means of gauging how interesting each word is. We have a means of measuring how interested the public is in each phrase when comparing phrases to one another. However, we need to decide what phrases are most suited for our purpose of exploring if we crave to search for a connection. One thing to note is that the Las Vegas shooting is a bit of an outlier. Despite not being blamed on violent media, it is one of the top ten things searched on google in 2017. It’s being included as a means of measuring how interesting our media blamed shootings are to google users. “Shooting” is a good baseline, but we see spikes at multiple places when big incidents happened but most notably around the times of the Las Vegas, Parkland, and Sandy Hook shootings. “Gun control” appears to be a much weaker phrase as around the time of these crimes there was only a interest rating of 3-5 (compared to sports 80-90 rating).  However, it’s important to keep in mind that this is being compared to phrases that are heavily searched. This shows that there is a significant portion of google users who are interested in the term gun control. This establishes that gun control is a phrase that is in the mind of the collective unconscious. 

When we switch out the phrase gun control for video game we see something similar where we have small spikes in interest around the times of the Sandy Hook and Parkland shootings. Looking at these charts it’s apparent that we-as internet searchers- are fairly interested in the connection between video games and violent shootings committed by teens. This evidence suggest that despite the countless studies done that say there is no correlation, that either that information isn’t well spread, or people have a reason why they’re searching these terms.

Using Google Trends is just another means of conducting a diachronic analysis. It can grant insight into the relationship between blaming violent crimes on media and search trends of google users. In fact, it shows that google users are interested in the relationship and actively take a roll in investigating themselves.

Analyzing search trends after violent crimes provides insight into the intentions of the people searching. There are distinct groups created after a polarizing event happens. Some people search because they want to know more about the event, others search because they want to write about it, and others search because they want to prove their friends wrong. After a violent shooting blamed on video games happens, there is an increase in searches for topics like “gun control”, “video games”, and “shootings”, because people want to gather information for their own day to day arguments. Each of our key-words are searched in varying levels, depending on the group. Evidence suggest that not all of these groups are affected when a violent crime occurs because they don’t have a need for the information the internet offers.

The first group of people, who just want general information are the easiest to identify and examine. Their intentions are the easiest to guess at as well. They want information about violent crimes because they like finding out the information for themselves. After a shooting that happens, that’s blamed on video games they tend to react the least. These people don’t really care about what the shooting was blamed, they just want to know what the “what” is. For the most part, they also just want to be in the know of things that are happening in the United States. This group is created from anything big happening. There is always a hunger for information that people naturally have, regardless of whether that information is accurate. This is how fake news is spread often, because people simply want information of some kind relating to a topic. After a violent crime, this group tends to be the one’s searching for “shooting” the most, as they only have limited information and want more. For example someone unfamiliar with the Parkland incident in 2017, would likely search “Florida shooting”.

The second group, is the group of people who search to write about, or report the topics. Now this group is interesting because they are created for a purpose. The last group didn’t necessarily have a purpose outside of simply acquiring information, regardless of what the information entails. This group searches the most and for the sole purpose of getting the most accurate information. Most people who report on, or write about a subject want to have reliable information so they will obviously do quite a bit of searching. This group is also less interested in the “what” unless they are writing specifically about that. This group is significant because they are the group that takes information for their own benefit. The first group is mostly focused on acquiring some kind of information, while this group acquires accurate information that backs up their own opinion. A good example of this is news outlets. They will acquire accurate information of events, but may tweak what the causes, or effects are of the event to suite the message they are trying to send to their audience. A more right leaning outlet may focus less on ideas like gun control because they don’t even want that topic coming up. Now this group is the group that focuses the most of their searches on terms like “gun control”, “mental health”, and “shooting”. They want to see a correlation between these terms so that they can either include them in their own argument, or leave them out if they don’t agree with their point of view.

The last group of people is the group that searches to bolster their own personal arguments. Now this group isn’t writing for any outlet, or paper, so they don’t tend to be focused too much on accurate information. In fact, they mostly search for terms and ideas that only support their argument, not even acknowledging the other side for the most part. This group tends to search for all the key terms because they want to find a link of any kind between the terms in order to make their personal arguments sounder. This group searches the most out of any group because they are the group that makes up a majority of the searches. Directly after a violent crime happens that’s blamed on violent media, people either take the side of for or against. People storm the internet searching for information that satisfies them. It’s honestly extremely logical if we consider how many people want to prove themselves right. Especially if they are in an argument with their friends, or family about a topic. This is why the search trends increase so much after big shootings like the Sandy Hook, Parkland, and Las Vegas shootings.

Many may argue that there is no way that google searches can offer insight into what types of people we are. It’s not accurate or fair to divide people into groups based on what they choose to search. That searches don’t show anything about our societal hive mind, because people are always going to naturally seek information. In fact, we as people are multi-faceted and boiling us down to Validators, Writers, and Seekers doesn’t show anything about internet culture or our craving for information. Although not the focal point of the paper, some may even go as far as to argue against the idea that violent video games don’t cause violent behavior. Despite these claims it’s apparent that their is some connection between an increase in google searches for certain key phrases after a particularly violent crime blamed on violent media committed by a teen.

The first major point to talk about is that google searches can’t offer insight into what types of people we are. For example, just because someone searches “bomb” doesn’t mean they are a terrorist. However, it’s important to realize that the internet omits “survey bias.” As writer Seth Stephens-Davidowitz says in his article “Everybody lies: how Google searches reveal our darkest secrets,” “The more impersonal the conditions, the more honest people will be…Certain online sources get people to admit things they would not admit anywhere else. They serve as a digital truth serum.” This shows that people are willing to be much more honest about what they believe when it comes to browsing the internet. In fact, searches are not just done purely for information. The evidence suggest that when we-as a culture- search for gun control, video games, and shootings, it’s because we have some opinion on this topic. Before he explains that google searches are almost like truth serum  Stephens-Davidowitz says that “Many people underreport embarrassing behaviors and thoughts on surveys. They want to look good, even though most surveys are anonymous. This is called social desirability bias.” People have ideas of what is desirable in society and choose to hide what they believe from all but the internet as a means of staying socially credible. Despite this, there is still a desire to support one’s own argument, which is why many people who search end up being Validators. Unlike Seekers, they aren’t searching for information, but echo chambers that support their own ideas.

Another point is that some may challenge the base idea that video games don’t cause violent behavior. Although this is a topic that has been argued to death, it still comes up every time a violent shooting happens that is blamed on violent media. In fact, numerous articles were released after the Parkland shooting stating that there is no correlation, because President Donald Trump released a statement saying there was. There are some who still believe this to be true though because they are distrusting survey bias, the gray area that some studies sit in. As pointed out by Remeo Vitelli in his article “Can Video Games Cause Violence”, “The debate over video games has led to a serious split between different groups of researchers which was as much about politics as research findings…lack of real consensus among researchers and the heated arguments they tend to make defending their own view.” Despite the general consensus about video games and violence many are distrusting of that information because some scientist tend to defend their own way of thinking only. This shows why there is a population of people who don’t trusts research. However, it’s important to realize that regardless of whether or not video games do cause violent behavior people still take to the internet looking for affirmation.

The final point is the idea that we can’t be split up into these three groups purely off of our search history. This point brings to light the idea that we are stuck in one of these roles for our entire lives. However, this is not the case. People are indeed multi faceted and we move through these different groups depending on the topic at hand, our social circle, and what we already know about the topic. These groups truly show our tendencies in tense political, and societal situations. When we are presented with something that shakes the foundation of what we believe we have a response. Whether that response is to try to reaffirm what we think or to prove others wrong just depends. In fact, it’s a person to person basis and not all people who search for gun control after a violent crime are validators. It definitely isn’t an exact science or anything but it’s clear to see that we seek a connection between these topics.

All in all, although there may be some holes in this idea it is still valid. We-as a race- seek to either sever or form a connection between violent media and violent crimes. This could be because we it’s connected to a hot topic issue of gun control. However, evidence seems to suggest that we do it to validate our own opinions. The distrust in studies done by researchers has lead to a gap in information that people have to fill themselves. In an attempt to fill this information gap, people take to the internet. In turn, the google searches these people conduct can reveal some things about their intentions, because people are more honest when it’s impersonal.

References

Campbell, C. (2018, March 10). A brief history of blaming video games for mass murder. Retrieved November 28, 2018, from https://www.polygon.com/2018/3/10/17101232/a-brief-history-of-video-game-violence-blame

Fritscher, L. (2018, September 29). How Instincts Relate to the Collective Unconscious. Retrieved November 28, 2018, from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-collective-unconscious-2671571
Kilgarriff, Adam, et al. “DIACRAN: A Framework for Diachronic Analysis.” Lexical Computing, 2013.
Pew, A., & Goldbeck, L. (2018, March 27). Violent Video Games and Aggression. Retrieved November 28, 2018, from http://www.center4research.org/violent-video-games-can-increase-aggression/

Ramat, Anna Giacalone, et al. Synchrony and Diachrony: a Dynamic Interface. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2013, books.google.com/books?id=YdnA6nBjXjAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=isbn:9027272077&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiQj6TkzY7eAhUyTd8KHQIXBiAQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Rogers, Simon. “What Is Google Trends Data – and What Does It Mean?” Medium, Google News Lab, 1 July 2016, medium.com/google-news-lab/what-is-google-trends-data-and-what-does-it-mean-b48f07342ee8.

Stephens-Davidowitz, S. (2017, July 09). Everybody lies: How Google search reveals our darkest secrets. Retrieved November 28, 2018, from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jul/09/everybody-lies-how-google-reveals-darkest-secrets-seth-stephens-davidowitz

Vitelli, R. (2013, April 1). Can Video Games Cause Violence? Retrieved November 28, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/media-spotlight/201304/can-video-games-cause-violence

Causal-jokerthefool

Analyzing search trends after violent crimes provides insight into the intentions of the people searching. There are distinct groups created after a polarizing event happens. Some people search because they want to know more about the event, others search because they want to write about it, and others search because they want to prove their friends wrong. My belief is that after violent shootings blamed on video games happen, there is an increase in searches for topics like “gun control”, “video games”, and “shootings”, because people want to gather information for their own day to day arguments. Each of the key-words are searched in varying levels, depending on the group. Not all of these groups are effected though when a particularly violent crime occurs because they don’t have a need for the information the internet offers. Also, no real conclusions can be drawn about these people except for their possible intentions.

The first group of people, who just want general information are the easiest to identify and examine. Their intentions are the easiest to guess at as well. They want information about violent crimes because they like finding out the information for themselves. After a shooting that happens, that’s blamed on video games they tend to react the least. These people don’t really care about what the shooting was blamed, they just want to know what the “what” is. For the most part, they also just want to be in the know of things that are happening in the United States. This group is created from anything big happening. There is always a hunger for information that people naturally have, regardless of whether that information is accurate. This is how fake news is spread often, because people simply want information of some kind relating to a topic. After a violent crime, this group tends to be the one’s searching for “shooting” the most, as they only have limited information and want more. For example someone unfamiliar with the Parkland incident in 2017, would likely search “Florida shooting”.

The second group, is the group of people who search to write about, or report the topics. Now this group is interesting because they are created for a purpose. The last group didn’t necessarily have a purpose outside of simply acquiring information, regardless of what the information entails. This group searches the most and for the sole purpose of getting the most accurate information. Most people who report on, or write about a subject want to have reliable information so they will obviously do quite a bit of searching. This group is also less interested in the “what” unless they are writing specifically about that. This group is significant because they are the group that takes information for their own benefit. The first group is mostly focused on acquiring some kind of information, while this group acquires accurate information that backs up their own opinion. A good example of this is news outlets. They will acquire accurate information of events, but may tweak what the causes, or effects are of the event to suite the message they are trying to send to their audience. A more right leaning outlet may focus less on ideas like gun control because they don’t even want that topic coming up. Now this group is the group that focuses the most of their searches on terms like “gun control”, “mental health”, and “shooting”. They want to see a correlation between these terms so that they can either include them in their own argument, or leave them out if they don’t agree with their point of view.

The last group of people is the group that searches to bolster their own personal arguments. Now this group isn’t writing for any outlet, or paper, so they don’t tend to be focused too much on accurate information. In fact, they mostly search for terms and ideas that only support their argument, not even acknowledging the other side for the most part. This group tends to search for all the key terms because they want to find a link of any kind between the terms in order to make their personal arguments sounder. This group searches the most out of any group because they are the group that makes up a majority of the searches. Directly after a violent crime happens that’s blamed on violent media, people either take the side of for or against. Are video games to blame for a violent crime, or is that a bunch of crap? People storm the internet searching not only for the answer, but one that satisfies them. It’s honestly extremely logical if we consider how many people want to prove themselves right. Especially if they are in an argument with their friends, or family about a topic. This is why the search trends increase so much after big shootings like the Sandy Hook, Parkland, and Las Vegas shootings.

 

Definition- jokerthefool

In order to use Google Trends to analyze violent shootings in America, we need to become linguists. Google Trends is a tool that allows one to view how often certain phrases or words are searched through google, over a period of time. Linguist study how society uses words, how often these words are used, and how language changes over time. Google  Trends is a way to narrow key words and see how often they are used. The study of key words changing over time is called diachronic analysis. Google Trends is a type of this analysis , and in fact it’s the best way to examine how violent shootings blamed on violent media effect search trends.

To show that analyzing Google Trends is a type of diachronic analysis, we need to know what makes up a diachronic analysis. There are three major pieces for this analysis. Two of them are “corpus 1,…and a formula for ranking how interesting each work is,” according to Adam Kilgarriff in “DIACRAN: a framework for diachronic analysis.” The last piece are the key-words being studied. Viewing search trends with Google Trends actually has all of these pieces necessary to be a diachronic analysis.

The key-words are the easiest piece to see. I stumbled across the keys-words by pursuing one thought “Violent media does not cause violent crimes.” This is a conclusion that has been reached time and time again through countless studies. However, what I found odd is that shootings like the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, or the Parkland shooting in February 2017, were both blamed on violent media (more specifically video games), despite that conclusion.  When pursuing why this was the case I stumbled across Google Trends. I was curious as to when people were searching for terms like “gun control”, “ violent shooting”, and “mental health.”  Unbeknownst to me, these were the key words in my own diachronic analysis. Google Trends shows all of its data as line graphs, that have dips and spikes depending on how often a term is searched. When searching a term like “gun control” there are notable spikes in December 2012, and February 2017, around the time that the Sandy Hook and Parkland shootings happened. This was the first step in my diachronic analysis.

The second piece is the corpus. A corpus is a random body of text that’s being examined for the study. Normally its used to see often the key-words come up. This information can be used in turn to note how often words are used, and what words are going out of linguistic style. Usually its noted how often the key-word appears out of 1 million words. In our case with Google Trends, we can compare how interested google users are in our key-words to more common phrases like “sports”. This is not a new process by any means and has been done numerous times by analysts, and journalist alike. Data journalist Simon Rogers explains on “Google News Lab” that “to get a sense of relative size, we can add additional terms, which helps put that search interest into perspective…” This creates a scale for our key word which can act as our corpus. Now Google Trends have numbers out of 100 that rank how interested google users are in topics. In December of 2012 the term “sports” was given an interest rank of 92, while “shooting” was given a interest rank of 95.  Meaning that google users were more interested in shootings compared to sports, a national past time in America. The term “sports” remains relatively constant throughout the years with a pretty constant interest which helps us use it as our “corpus”, or a means of comparison.

Finally, we needs a means of gauging how interesting each word is. Now as stated before, we have an actual means of measuring how interested the public is in each phrase when comparing phrases to one another. However, we need to decide what phrases are most suited for the purpose of analyzing the blame of violent crimes on media, on search trends. One thing to note is that the Las Vegas shooting is a bit of an outlier. Despite not being blamed on violent media, it is one of the top ten things searched on google in 2017. It’s being included as a means of measuring how interesting our media blamed shootings are to google users, compared to it. “Shooting” is a good baseline, but we see spikes at multiple places when big incidents happened but most notably around the times of the Las Vegas, Parkland, and Sandy Hook shootings. “Gun control” is a much weaker phrase as around the time of these crimes there was only a interest rating of 3-5 (compared to sports 80-90 rating).  Other terms like “mental health”, “mass murder”, “video games”, “violence”, all have rantings anywhere from less than 1 to 5 around these times. All of these words were compared against sports. However, once we begin to compare these terms to each other, we start to see small jumps in the phrase “video games” around the times of the Sandy Hook and Parkland shootings. Now these jumps are small (only going from around 4 up to 9 and 10 when compared to shootings), but there is still an increase. This has identified three key phrases to our analysis  “shootings”, “video games”, and “gun control”. Logically, these phrases make the most sense since they have to do with the topic at hand, but the relationship between these topics could provide insight into when/why google users show interest in certain topics.

All in all, using Google Trends is just another means of conducting a diachronic analysis. It has all  the necessary components to be considered one. It’s not a brand new means of analyzing data by any means, but it can potentially grant insight into the relationship between blaming violent crimes on media and search trends of google users.

References:

Kilgarriff, Adam, et al. “DIACRAN: A Framework for Diachronic Analysis.” Lexical Computing, 2013.

Ramat, Anna Giacalone, et al. Synchrony and Diachrony: a Dynamic Interface. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2013, books.google.com/books?id=YdnA6nBjXjAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=isbn:9027272077&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiQj6TkzY7eAhUyTd8KHQIXBiAQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Rogers, Simon. “What Is Google Trends Data – and What Does It Mean?” Medium, Google News Lab, 1 July 2016, medium.com/google-news-lab/what-is-google-trends-data-and-what-does-it-mean-b48f07342ee8.