Going Beyond Google

I read a study this morning that said people with stronger cognitive skills spend less time using their smartphones’ search-engine function.

Just kidding. I didn’t read any study. I wish I had time for that. But the fact above is still true, except instead of reading it from a study, I read it from my Twitter page. UberFacts tweeted it approximately thirteen hours ago, and because they have a little blue check mark next to their name, everything they tweet has to be true.

For some reason, this thought stuck with me all throughout the day. What did we do before Google? What did parents say before they could advise their children to “just Google it?” When did Google become a verb?! It’s all too much. The other day, I was having a conversation with a student and the idea of gender and colors came up. Why does blue mean boy and girl mean pink? So, we Googled it (and in case you were wondering, you can thank the 1940s clothes manufacturers for that one). But after we found the answer, we proceeded to have an entire conversation about the socialization of gender and gender norms and stereotypes. It was one of the best conversations I’ve had all week, and it’s still on my mind!

Why? Because I went Beyond Google. It’s so easy to just type something into your smartphone nowadays and get that instant gratification. I think as twentysomethings, that’s what we except. Being in the millennial generation, we think we deserve it. So if a relationship isn’t working out? Forget about working through it…it’s time to toss it out the window. If an assignment requires any actual rigor, it’s automatically the professor’s fault for making it too hard. Technology has made our lives so incredibly easy (relatively speaking, of course), that when there is any challenge in life, we think we are doing something wrong.

I found myself recently caught in this trap. I felt I needed to go Beyond Google.

Yesterday, I was having a great day. Outlet shopping with a great friend, reading a great book in a beautiful park with a mini waterfall, and the whole day it was bright, beautiful, and sunny. It felt like summer, and so did I. The last thing I wanted to do when I got back from all of that was write a paper for grad school. I just wasn’t feeling it. I was texted my friend, being that annoying one, “I’m boredddd what should I do?!” No matter what he said, I wasn’t going to be happy with it. I wanted something outside of my routine.

So I did a quick Google search: “Things to do in Buffalo, NY.”

Usually, nothing comes up. There is plenty, oh don’t let me fool you. But for a random Saturday night in the middle of winter/spring, to find something that I actually wanted to do usually doesn’t happen. So I was shocked when I saw “MusicalFare presents Rodgers & Hammerstein’s CAROUSEL.” I frantically looked at my watch. It was 7:37pm…show time was in 23 minutes. Without thinking twice, I hopped in my car and drove to see the production.

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  1. It was great. Not my favorite show in the world. The cast did an amazing job, but the actual show itself just wasn’t my favorite.
  2. All of this is just a preface for this entire post…going Beyond Google. If the story ended here, it would be a great advertisement for why Google rocks. It does, but not all the time.

Case in point: I have been searching Google since last August, since I moved to Buffalo, looking for groups to join, meet-ups to go to, and friends to make. And as of right now, more than seven months later, I still haven’t done any of that. Why? Because Google always showed a big zero. Buffalo has amazing things to do, but how to get involved in any of them still remains a mystery.

Unintentionally, I went Beyond Google last night when I spotted a pile of magazines on my way out of the theater. It caught my eye because I saw two men on the cover, holding a small child. “LGBT FAMILIES” it said in bold capital letters printed across the page. In the magazine, there were three whole pages just for LGBT events in the Buffalo area…things that I have been looking for since August!

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So on a whim, I decided to go to a show (which I love doing), and even though the show wasn’t my favorite, I think everything happens for a reason. I found that magazine and now feel so much more connected to the LGBT community in Buffalo, just from reading a few pages. And now, I’m signed up for an LGBT book club with other people in the Buffalo community. All the books are written either by LGBT authors or are about LGBT topics, and I can’t freaking wait.

How can you challenge yourself to go Beyond Google?