9 Jan 2016
The Problem With Google It
We’ve all been there - we’ve asked a question on social media that would have been better suited on Google. My worst related crime was asking “who Ayn Rand was”. I received mini ridicule and it was a fair cop. But sometimes the question is asked and we’d rather not trudge our way through Google and its index of links to get an answer. Sometimes the question(s) we ask are quite broad and a simple reply would be succinct and quench the knowledge thirst. And there are times when we just want a conversation.
My parents are what you might call “technophobes”. My mum panics at the thought of having to retune the television and my dad, despite using Microsoft Office more than me, often asks for help. There was one such occurrence a few days ago when he needed assistance with PowerPoint. I’ve used PowerPoint three times in the past four years so my expertise is somewhat lacking past adding and removing slides. But I always find the answer, or at least try. In this instance, he wanted to do something I had never done before. So what would I do in that situation? Google it. It’s something he could have done, sure, but he’d asked the question and I had no problem helping. And then it hit me. Although the prupose of the call was for help, there was a secondary reason as well - just to talk. Coincidentally, this had fallen on World Mental Health Day and when the realisation hit me, I felt a wave of sadness. I haven’t called my parents nearly enough since I moved out in 2014 and although I’d seen them briefly a couple of weeks ago, this was the first time we’d spoken on the phone for much longer. We’ve not always seen eye to eye over the years but we’ve grown much closer now and he’s been a great mediator whenever I’ve needed help or advice. This was more than a technical support and that’s why “just Google it” isn’t always appropriate.
When we ask questions, sometimes we’re seeking discourse on the subject. This can enrich all involved with knowledge and interest and, simply, someone to talk to and not feel alone. It’s important not to snub those who are legitimately looking for this. If you feel you can’t have this conversation, direct them to somewhere the information can be found rather than the classic “Google it link”. You never know, by answering the question, you could learn something yourself - I know I have.