I have just started reading the book, Invited: The Power of Hospitality in an Age of Loneliness by Leslie Verner. I saw it at the library and thought it looked interesting. I just read something that I’ve never really thought about before and would like to see what you all think.
To give some context, in the midst of sharing some statistics about the effects of the smartphone on teenagers and people in general, Leslie ponders how phones “tug at the threads of community, intimacy, and relationship.”
Here’s what stood out to me: She states that a lot of what we used to ask of another human being, we now ask of Google. Instead of seeking advice from family members and friends, we now type our questions into a search bar or ask strangers in a Facebook group. She feels that convenience has whisked us out of relationship.
I can see what she’s staying. We can do all kinds of things now and never have to interact with anyone. I used to work at a bank where we encouraged customers to participate in online banking. As employees we needed to reach goals for getting customers to sign up for various services but how were we to do that when online banking reduced the number of customers that actually came to the bank? I honestly don’t know the last time I went to the bank, much less INTO the bank, to process a transaction. There are many examples that show how we now can limit our social interactions if we so choose.
Anyway, I ask Google all kinds of things. It is pretty easy and convenient. However, after reading this I am going to challenge myself to not ask Google and instead ask a human. Should I try doing this for a week? A month? There are all kinds of things I want to know – surely someone out there will talk to me about it, right? I think it would make the other person feel good to be asked something, maybe make them feel valued or that they have something to contribute to the world. Maybe it will surprise them, maybe they’ll say I should just Google it. I won’t know until I ask.
So who’s with me? Are you up for the Human vs. Google Challenge? Surely there’s a catchy hashtag for this kind of thing…
Is it ironic that I’m posting this on a blog? Okay, I will also challenge myself to discuss this with some people in person too, perhaps while sharing a meal or a cup of tea.