It struck me recently that Googling someone is not such a great idea. Many times these days before we even shake someone else’s hand, we Google them. We think in doing this we may be learning something about the person and it will somehow be easier to talk with them. We think the person will be flattered by this research but I wonder about that.
You can find out all about almost anyone on the internet and if you are a good researcher, you can discover things even the person’s parents may not know. Google goes on and on and never seems to stop. I have so many Google entries I can’t even believe it. Most of them are repetitive. Some of them are accurate and some are somewhat off but there are now so many I am less and less interested in keeping track of them. We are told we need to keep track so we will know when we are being impersonated or lied about in public.
I find the act of Googling annoying as I see that it cuts down on civilized conversation. After we Google someone we think we know all about them and often jump too quickly into conversations that are too intimate, too knowing and too familiar as we have only just met the person. It seemed a better idea to me to have conversation and the dance of intimate conversation. I like the wait of self disclosure. One person shows a little bit of their life and then the other says a little more. We take time to play out this dance and we dance it carefully. Google has eliminated all of this because we know almost everything there is to know about our conversational partner before we start the dance.
I like the old days when there was an element of surprise when we asked what someone did or where they lived, what causes they supported and if they were democratically inclined. I like the period of discovery which could be extended for as long as we wanted to extend it. I think the Google thing has happened because we have lost our ability to deal with gray. We like black and white in this world and knowing all about someone before we even meet them makes people feel safe and maybe even powerful.
I didn’t know I felt this way until recently. It was such an interesting thing to figure out as it happened gradually and with only a small amount of annoyance. Suddenly I saw what was happening to relationships and it wasn’t fun. I like the “discovery period” of meeting a new person and I am going to work on my own Google obsession. I am probably one of the best of my generation, not that I would brag. I remind myself of my dog when in her hunting mode. My nose goes down and starts to sniff, my fingers begin to itch, and I’m off. Sometimes I can do this for hours particularly if I get sidetracked which I do often.
Join me tonight! No Googling for a week! Let’s try the old-fashioned way and see how it feels!