This article is part of our special issue “Connected State of Mind,” which explores the impact of tech use on our behavior and relationships. View the complete issue here . It was the day before I was supposed to host a book club meeting at my apartment, and I hadn’t read the book. This was partly because of a busy schedule, and partly because the book hadn’t piqued my interest. But since I was responsible for leading the discussion, I felt a strong obligation to read.
The research question seemed like a cross between science fiction and a conspiracy theory. I could hardly believe that we were asking it. But the world of our psychological forefathers had changed, and we had to change our thinking to keep up. In 2013, I worked under the supervision of Robert Epstein, B.F. Skinner’s last doctoral student, to begin a series of behavioral experiments to address an unsettling question: Could a search engine be used to sway the minds of voters? The idea was simple.
Cognitive neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley and psychologist Larry Rosen make a convincing case for what you may have already been thinking: your brain is not well adjusted to our engaging—and distracting—modern world. But in The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World , Gazzaley and Rosen aren’t panicking—they’re being pragmatic.
Muck Rack makes it simple to find people, tweets, or articles that mention any name, keyword, company, hashtag etc. We've compiled this guide to help you make the most of your search.
Selecting a term
Start searching tweets, articles from media outlets, articles mentioned in tweets, journalists'
names, titles and bios with some suggested searches:
Companies or Topics (e.g. iPhone, Microsoft)
Phrases (e.g. "cloud computing") — use quotes to keep the terms together
Twitter handles (e.g. @username) — returns those who have mentioned or replied to
Names (e.g. "David Pogue")
Hashtags (e.g. #sxsw, #london2012)
Bio details (e.g. vegan, Olympics, father)
Muck Rack's Advanced Search allows for many boolean operators.
Find results that mention multiple specified terms, use AND or
+. For example, ensure each result contains both Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg by
searching Musk AND Zuckerberg or Musk + Zuckerberg.
Use the operators OR or , to broaden your search when you'd like either of
multiple terms to appear in results. (This is the default behavior of our search when no operators
are used). For example, results will contain either cake or cookie by searching cake OR cookie or cake,cookie
Use NOT or - to subtract results from your search. For
example, searching Disney will yield results about the Walt Disney Company as well as Walt Disney
World Resort. To exclude mentions of Disney World, search for Disney -World or Disney
When using one of these operators with a phrase, enclose it in quotation marks. For example, you can
find results about smartphones excluding Apple's iPhone 4S by searching smartphone -"iPhone
Exact case matching or punctuation
If you're searching for a brand name or keyword that relies on specific punctuation marks or capitalization, you can
find results that match your exact query by adding matchcase: before the keyword you're searching for, like matchcase:E*TRADE .
Use parentheses to separate multiple
boolean phrases. For example, to find journalists talking about having fun in Disney World or
Disneyland, search for ("disney world" OR disneyland) AND fun.
An asterisk can be used to search for any variation of a root word truncated by the asterisk. For example, searching for admin* will return results for administrator, administration, administer, administered, etc.
A near operator is an AND operator where you can control the distance between the words. You can vary the distance the near operation uses by adding a forward slash and number (between 0-99) such as strawberries NEAR/10 "whipped cream", which means the strawberries must exist within 10 words of "whipped cream".