The internet is making me...uhh, what's that word again?

I was considering the sheer power of Google this morning.  Don't pretend you've never thought about it before.  At my fingertips, within seconds (or a fraction thereof), I can find out the name of the guy in the movie I'm watching and what other movies I know I've seen him in but can't think of at the moment, the best method for peeling hard-boiled eggs, and how long it would take me to drive to Argentina. 

I remember a time, long, long ago (or at least relatively so as compared to a millisecond) when we'd agonize over the information for days until the name suddenly came to us in the middle of our morning shower, we figured it out by trying different things, or we got out a map & a calculator and did some rudimentary ciphering.

Basically, the internet is making me dumb.

What is the incentive for using my brain when a super computer can provide me the same results (or better) in a millisecond?  I really can't think of one.  And, yet, I'm left feeling a little uneasy about submitting to the power that is Google.  (And no, Google, I'm rarely feeling lucky.)

So while I was in the shower this morning considering Google (since I no longer need to try to remember that random actor's name) I thought of a fun little experiment to represent the dangers of internet searches.

Here's how it works:
  1. Create a list of (nearly) indisputable untruths.  (Is anyone surprised that I started a list with "Create a list"?  This is getting excessive.)
  2. Google them.
  3. Post findings on blog.
Easy enough.

Now for the list of untruths:
  1. Coffee is good for you.
  2. Chocolate is good for you.
  3. Hot showers are not bad for you.
  4. Retail therapy is healthy.
  5. It's a good idea to carry multiple credit cards.
Would you believe I found a website confirming each of the five?  Of course you would.  Because the internet is full of...uhh, what's that word again?  

At http://www.coffeeisgoodforyou.com/, you will find a myriad of reasons why you should drink coffee and plenty of it.  Not only is it not bad for you (that whole dehydration thing is a myth), but it provides countless benefits including higher metabolism (read weight loss), a cure for baldness, protection against MS, a decreased suicide rate...  Need I go on?  Feel free to check it out for yourself.  And here I thought all this coffee I've been drinking was ruining my teeth, causing insomnia, and inducing Mr. Hyde-like personalities when forced to abstain from it.

Okay, next.  CBS News tells me Chocolate is not only good, it's good for you.  I've heard the theories of antioxidants in dark chocolate, but this goes above and beyond.  It encourages a bit of chocolate every single day.  And here I thought my 3pm chocolate indulgence was what's been causing me to keep this lovely muffintop.  Clearly I was wrong!  Thank you, internet!

Since I was in the shower, I couldn't help but think about the temperature of the water and the fact that I know hot showers are terrible for my skin, "but it feels good", so I thought I'd check to see if the internet would let me off the hook.  Then I found this:  Benefits of a Hot Shower on Both Your Body & Mind.  Score!  And it's from a natural remedies website.  Everything natural is good, right?  (Just smile and nod.)  It seems that these hot showers I allow myself decrease my stress level, enhance my sexual experiences, and, here's a big one, help remove excess dirt and oil from my skin (I had NO idea!).  Dry skin, be darned!

As for retail therapy, maybe my proof comes from a collection of blogs and online forums, but there are plenty of people out there touting the benefits (casting aside the dangers of uncontrolled spending with the defense that they "deserve" a new $10,000 purse).  Then there are the credit card websites.  This might be one of my weaker untruths, depending on whose financial advise you subscribe to.  Since Dave Ramsey is kind of "my guy" on all things financial, using multiple credit cards is a bad idea.  There are about nine bazillion internet hits that attest to the contrary.

The long and short of it is that if you're looking to justify something to yourself, Google is where you need to be.  Chances are in your favor that you will find someone who feels the way you want them to, with enough evidence to convince you that you're doing "the right thing".

And so we come to the part of my blog post where I offer up a helpful anecdote/moral.

This is it:  While we might not need to use our brains as much anymore (thanks Google!), that doesn't mean that we shouldn't.  

If you're feeling particularly brain-dull these days, perhaps it's time to consider doing some Neurobics (courtesy of Google...of course).

Happy Thinking!

"I wish my name was Brian because maybe sometimes people would misspell my name and call me Brain. That's like a free compliment and you don't even gotta be smart to notice it. "
-Mitch Hedberg


Debbie said...

...but but but Jennie. All those things must be true. You read them on the internet!

Excellent (and frankly frightening) observation, btw.

jade said...

hmmm, I wonder what kind of topics I should research? I DO like the coffee one, and totally agree with it

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