In terms of accessing and finding information our society has it incredibly easy. With the click of a button we can access whatever our hearts desire. Having a health issue? Simply type in your symptoms and self diagnose yourself. Need directions? Forget about using a real map, just Google where you want to go and within less than a second, directions are ready for your travels. Those who did not grow up with this fabulous invention would call Google a tool that just aids society’s laziness. For those who have had the luxury of Google, we call is sheer convenience. Before the times of Google, one had to use a book to gather answers (that may not even be accessible) and I, for one, feel incredibly lucky not to have lived in that era. But then again, that’s because all I’ve ever known is the convenience of the Internet. But what if the Internet can’t produce the answer you’re looking for? Seems impossible, doesn’t it? Wrong.
For the sake of argument, we all heavily rely on search engines such as Google. So what happens when we just can’t find the answer we’re looking for? I am going to speak for all of the Google users of the world and say sheer panic sets in when we can’t find a piece of information we so desperately crave. I am currently interning for a few radio stations, constantly using Google to discover stories that our listeners would be interested in. Last week my boss sent me over an e-mail asking me to do some “digging” on a school that banned Valentine’s Day and switched it to “Friendship Day.” The actual letter that was sent home to parents was online however the school name had been blacked out with a black sharpie. Upon seeing this e-mail I assumed it would take me all of three minutes to Google this story and find the elementary school imposing this new day of friendship.
I can honestly say after Googling this news story for two hours I was nowhere near close to finding out which elementary school was switching up this classic holiday. How did I feel? Aside from the initial panic and confusion as to why this important information was not on the web, when pointless information is infinite in the cyber world, I felt kind of “jipped.” For the first time in my life, Google had let me down. This story was important to me, and all I wanted to know was the name of the elementary school. How can it be so hard to find an elementary school, when today’s Internet can literally teach the average person how to, say, build a bomb? I used all of my Google resources, and still came up with nothing. I love and rely on Google and in no way feel that it is an inadequate search engine, yet I can say for the first time in my life I was at a loss for information and it did not feel good. The lesson I learned from this is that I rely too heavily on technology to do my work for me. It’s all I’ve ever known, and it’s all the future generations will know, as well. Perhaps it is time to hit the books every once and a while to humble us, and serve as a reminder for how far technology has really come. I’ll still cringe when my grandmother uses a phonebook, but as she and many others like to say, “don’t fix what’s not broken.”