On Saturday afternoon I couldn’t find my car keys. Earlier that morning I had run out to my car to get a book I just recently purchased called “Everything I know about Marketing I learned from Google” by Aaron Goldman.
As I was looking for my keys I retraced my steps: living room, dresser, kitchen, my office, my coat. I looked everywhere and I couldn’t find my keys.
Let me tell you how this story ends. I found them in my coat pocket. My raincoat. The coat I had worn the night before when I ran out to pick up take-out Chinese food. Typical February weather in Boston is cold and snowy; at the time we were having a thunderstorm so I put on my raincoat. My raincoat has very deep pockets and I don’t wear it that often.
I spent at least 10 minutes looking for my keys and I thought I was losing my mind. I asked my family if they had seen my keys and I retraced my steps numerous times. Still, no keys.
What I ultimately discovered is that earlier that morning I had not grabbed my car keys, I grabbed my wife’s car keys. Now you might be thinking “what does this have to do with Google?” Let me tell you.
After I found my keys I got in the car to run an errand to the hardware store, and as I was driving I was listening to the radio. Playing was a show on National Public Radio about the Internet and social networking, and the impact it has on our lives. They talked about the way a short burst of information might affect our brains; for example tweets of 144 characters or less.
At that moment I started thinking about losing my keys and the fact that my attention span would not allow me to consider the fact that it wasn’t really my keys I was looking for. Google gives me instant gratification when it comes to searching for information. Google is easy. You don’t have to work very hard to find information with Google. I wish I could’ve Googled the location of my keys. I was convinced that the keys I used that morning were mine and I couldn’t get past that concept.
One of the criticisms I’ve heard of people that use the computer a lot is that they lack analytical skills, especially children. I pondered whether or not the instant gratification of a tool like Google has affected my ability to think analytically. My mind just could not get past the events of that morning. Not for a moment did I think that maybe the events of that morning were more complicated and I needed to expand my thought process to the prior evening.
Eventually i found my keys once I considered the events of the prior evening. I eventually thought about my trip to the Chinese restaurant, the thunderstorm — and my raincoat. Maybe the fact that I lost my keys means nothing more than I’m simply human. Maybe I was tired and it had nothing to do with the Internet, Google, my analytical skills or the fact that I’ve recently turned 50. I guess I’ll never know.
Well that’s enough analysis for today, I have to run out and pick up my son at his friend’s house. Has anyone seen my keys?
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