Can Anybody Help Me?
By Sinead Crowley
A NetGalley Review
Pregnancy, new babies, police and murder. A Dark Angel nurse ‘helping’ – what a potent combination!
This is a fairly straight forward police procedural set in Ireland with a female detective – who is pregnant.
An interesting take here on the phenomenon that is ‘NetMums’ and how people trust the advice given on the Internet – by people they have never met – people that they feel are good friends despite the only contact being virtual and the reality being that they do not know who is at the other end of the computer line.
The forums such as ‘NetMums’ are all based on trust. Mums trust the forum and those who post. The more you post the more you are trusted. The more people say you are to be trusted and that your advice is sound, the more you are trusted. A virtuous circle. Just in the same way that we use the reviews on books posted on Amazon. If you post more reviews then your name becomes known and then people start to vote that your review was good, and then Amazon will trust you to review books before they are published. In fact NetGalley itself works on a similar process. If you return enough reviews and publishers think they are good, then you will be offered more books to review and so it goes. The more we are validated, the more we are trusted.
The origin of the word ‘trust’ is ‘trustig’. It is old Norse for a contract. I give you something and in return you give me something. Between us we agree on what is exchanged.
In the virtual world what is exchanged is data – made into information by its particular context. That information is what is used to trust. But what if the data is a lie? What if what is offered is not truthful but biased or intended to harm? What if the validation of the data is done deliberately to cause distress and confusion? – sites such as TripAdvisor try to catch the hotels that post their own reviews – but few sites can do this – does Wahanda (I use this to find beauty treatments) check who validates and reviews their salons I wonder – having just booked a facial…
This book uses the trust principle and the virtual world to show how harm can be done by those who trust and those who provide false data. We should all look at the moral of the story and take care.