Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Dumb America?

In this column, John Dvorak discusses a common tendency to ask simple questions instead of running an internet search to get answers. Dvorak thinks it’s a sign of stupidity and lack of basic training that causes people to fail to think of searching.
I disagree. Our minds are not built to say “Internet first!” We’re also discouraged from this “search first” mindset by the numerous frustrating, time-wasting, traumatic searches we’ve all experienced. It takes a while to learn which topics are amenable to searching.
I had a smart friend who would often come to me with programming questions. I would invariably turn to Google and search for one or two of the words in his question plus the word “tutorial”, almost always finding a great answer. But it took him awhile to realize that he didn’t have to ask me first. And bear in mind, he and I (and you and thou) had spent many years in the recent dark ages where we often were dependent on the knowledge of our friends.

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