Google is a lot like toilet paper: everyone uses it but no one admits it. Recently, I took a week off the internet empire. Here were the rules:
One week, no Google. Also, no Bing, Yahoo or other search engines. I did leave gmail accounts open for work and personal purposes. Maybe next time… Also worth noting, this was not a spiritual fast. One could claim, however, that I was searching… for myself… (GET IT?)
I’m a big fan of the internet. Besides blogging, I really enjoy social media, online shopping, and of course, the ability to watch TV whenever and wherever I want. These benefits may seem juvenile, but in all sincerity they’ve reshaped millions of lives.
The average user spends most of their time on mediums that weren’t available just ten years ago. And knowledge, well, that has come a long way. Remember not knowing the answer to a question? Awkward.
Like a sovereign empire, Google rules the world wide web with an iron fist. The simple “search” has changed more than we ever imagined it could.
I am not here to attack the internet but—rather simply—contribute to the conversation of our internet dependency.
Here’s What I Noticed
It turns out, I’m not an expert on every topic ever. Once I removed my ability to acquire instant knowledge of everything through Google search, I was starkly reminded of the work required for real expertise.
I’m capable of finding the answer on my own. Earlier this week I wrote a blog about the book of Esther. Without Google, I dedicated ten minutes to rereading and searching my own sources for context questions. I am capable!
I’m not a photographer. Every good blog needs a good picture. Without “Google image search” or any other picture service, I was reminded of real photography talent (unfortunately, I don’t have it). Also, I need to be better about photo cred.
Human dependency isn’t all that bad. This last week a customer asked about baritone ukuleles. Staring at a blank Google search, I almost caved in and faked some knowledge. Instead, I took a deep breathe and declared, “Ya know, I just… have no idea whatsoever.” Believe it or not, she actually understood. What I did do was direct her to a co-worker with expertise on the subject. Though not available at the time, she happily came back later.
It’ll be okay. With or without Google, it’s not the end of the world. I don’t want to rid myself entirely, but instead, set boundaries.
I hope something jumped out at you regarding my bullet points. Expecting a challenging week full of great stories to tell, I was instead left with a simpler message of patience and humility.
Would you be wiling to try it? Take a week off and let me know how it goes!
I’d also be interested hearing other takes on “internet dependency.” Have you had any experiences or viewpoints you’d care to share?