Tell me something good

Update 8/23/2018: Google Assistant is now dishing up good news from Solutions Journalism Network when I ask it to tell me something good. So, give it a try 🙂

For a couple of years now, I have been saying (to myself and my husband) how much I wish I would hear more GOOD NEWS about all the wonderful things people are doing to make the world a better place, instead of just all the bad news about how we are acting to destroy each other and the planet. I even wrote about this last year when I shared a link for the Good News Network and Action for Happiness.

Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past five years, you know that technology has accelerated everything, including the spread of bad news, misinformation, hate, horror, and doubt. It’s enough to make anyone (me) turn away from news and social media outlets, like I did earlier this year (ditching all but one social media account) and disconnect from engagement with the bad news.

Turns out what I experienced is not uncommon and even has a name – it’s called the Hope Gap. It’s what happens when we are overwhelmed by bad news. Now, Google has decided to do something about fixing the Hope Gap. It’s rolling out a feature on its Google Assistant (that app that you talk to and it does what you ask) called “Tell me something good”. When you ask Google Assistant to tell you something good, it curates something called “solutions journalism” – stories that show positive change happening in the world – changes that are truly working to FIX problems, not just feel-good human-interest stories about saving a dog from a flood. I like this. I need this. So do you. Here’s Google’s explanation of this new feature:

The more we hear stories about real people effecting real change and making the world BETTER, instead of WORSE, the more we will feel hopeful, become more engaged in doing those positive things ourselves, and create more good in the world. It’s time we flood our psyches with good news in order to make more good happen in the world.

I tried the “Tell me something good” feature this morning, and my Google Assistant only gave me Chaka Kahn’s song on YouTube. When I tried “tell me some good news”, it gave me news stories with the word GOOD in the title, not stories that were solutions journalism. Clearly, there are some glitches with the application here in its early stages, but I’d be curious for you to try it out and let me know what you get.

In the meantime, you can always go straight to the source – the Solutions Journalism Network – and visit their Discover page or subscribe to their email list for some good news stories in your inbox.

Of course, Google is just the technological curator, while the Solutions Journalism Network is the non-profit that trains and connects journalists to stories that need to be written. Before either of them, YES! magazine was up and running and focused on solutions journalism from the beginning. It is the only magazine I subscribe to, because it is a non-profit, and it has some of the best solutions-based reporting on some of the most difficult topics facing our society. I highly recommend supporting YES! magazine, too.

So, go out there and find some good news, or better yet, make some happen 🙂 Tell me something good.

Note: I want to make clear that when you use Google Assistant, you are allowing Google to record your voice (which I normally do not do because I don’t want Google storing every word that I say and if your mic and permissions are turned on all the time, then Google can record everything that is it hears in your room, house, car). So, use it at your discretion and with caution. Nothing is private anymore.

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