After thinking about it I think the frustration comes from not understanding the thought process…


I think the thing that frustrates me the most about people refusing to perform simple internet searches and asking others to do it is the not really understanding the psyche behind people asking other people to search the web for them.

It seems like the simplest and most direct route for someone to find answers.  For example:  If someone couldn’t find a post that had been written on GMG yesterday, last week or last year they could go two routes, right?

Route 1  They either search on the GMG Search box or if they didn’t know it even existed they could point their internet browser to Google, type in the search term and get the answer within 30 seconds.

Route 2: They write an email to me, wait til I actually have time to read it, perform the internet search for them, copy the results, email them back.  Could take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple days before I get through the emails that come in.

Now knowing how much quicker it would be to just perform the search themselves I just have to ask myself why?  Why in the world does someone refuse to perform the search themselves?

Now we all know those people who pride themselves on “Not being a computer person”. Not the feeble minded ones, but the genuinely smart people in every day lives that are really really smart and successful but they wear the “I don’t have a smartphone” badge like it’s something to be proud of.  These are the type of people who would bite their nose off to spite their own face.  If you have a smartphone (and it’s not about money because you can get free smartphones with any carrier) you know the power you have in your hand.  You know that knowledge is power and the information at your fingertips with a smartphone is nearly limitless.

So to trot out the “I’m not a computer person” line in the year 2014 makes you look stupid.  I don’t mean this to offend anyone.  I’m just telling you that saying this line out loud to anyone is basically telling people that you’re an idiot.  Computers are so dumbed down today, that if you can spell, then you can use an internet browser.  A two minute YouTube instructional video can explain how to perform a Google search.

Here’s a great internet tutorial for beginners.  You may ask how I found it.  By golly I actually found it using a search on Google!  Crazy right? I knooooow!!!  So Crazy!

So then after the “I’m not a smartphone person” or “I’m not a computer person” people, could it be laziness?  Do the people that write in these requests for information posted on the web just not want to perform the task of typing in the query?

Again I’m not meaning to offend with these questions, I’m trying to figure out for my own sanity the thought process (or lack thereof) in asking someone else through email to find something online for them when the act of writing out that email request took more time and energy than simply performing the internet search themselves.  It actually takes less time and keystrokes for the person asking the question.

So I guess that kinda answers my question there.  It can’t be that they’re lazy because it actually requires more work for them to type out the email than perform the search.  So strike lazy.

I genuinely believe the disconnect is a simple 2-5 minute lesson on how to point their browser in the direction of a search engine.  Could it be that simple you think?  Do you think that people are so afraid of technology that they intentionally refuse to learn how to find a search box?  That two minute lesson would open up worlds of information and empower them so much but they still won’t take that leap.  Being able to search for flights, bus schedules, sports scores, local events, international events, knitting patterns, free music, writing, art, ect, ect, ect, ect, ect, ect, ect, ect……

What percentage of the people who refuse to perform internet searches do you think is due to “



Fear of Internet

Please help me understand.  Please.  I beg of you.  If you are one of these people could you write in (and you can make it anonymous) to help me understand why you wouldn’t perform an internet search.  Maybe if we hear from a few of these folks we can find ways to help them understand how easy it is.


  • I suspect it’s the unintended selfishness that comes with one’s perception of ease–i.e., it is easier just to ask. It’s hard to imagine that anyone who uses a computer wouldn’t know how to do a search. I can’t imagine a “searchless” life. Etc., etc., etc., etc….


  • I’m a recently retired librarian with many years of practice in internet research for a variety of purposes. I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked “how did you find that information?” when it seemed to be something simple to me. I feel your pain. I’ve developed a theory that not everyone is blessed with research skills. Not everyone has (what seems to be) simple logic to apply to internet research. Google does make it pretty intuitive but if your home page is set to msn and you don’t know how to search anything else……….you might ask Joey for help. I’m taking you at your word that you want to understand why people ask you to do their research work for them, so please be gentle.


  • I appreciate the comments. Understanding may ease the frustration.


  • A companion rant: Trash those chain letters and other junk email that come over the transom spreading misinformation. If it looks like a hoax or a scam, it probably is, Don’t just Google it; check it out on or And anyway, don’t send on chain letters; they do no good, are usually recycled ten-year old chestnuts, use up more bandwidth, and waste (even more of) your time.


  • This is just something I noticed in my family that might offer a different view. I think some people like the human contact of talking to someone which computers have taken away to a certain extent and don’t see it as asking anyone to do anything for them, but just like in a face-to-face conversation, if someone knows something they don’t know, or they can’t find something or want info, they just ask the person they are talking to. Maybe some people think since it is your blog, you just know everything and that there is no search on your part involved. I can understand your frustration with all the emails you get. When I read what you wrote, this time and other times, I didn’t think any of those things. I think it happens in life with all kinds of things when different people have different views of how things should be done or how things should work and what others should do, on both sides. Maybe you could just post the questions anonymously rather than answering their emails if you keep getting them and let some of the readers answer the questions if they want to. Some people might like helping out someone that way and you would be free of most of the frustration. I think you do a great job on this blog! Along with all the people who post posts. Thanks!


  • It’s what we call an “Outside Context Problem”. Imagine you live on an Polynesian island and get along quite well with the level of technology you’ve always had and the occasional one-off goodie brought by people who pass by in boats. But one day a guy who says he’s with something called “The US Army” shows up and says he is fighting a war against a thing called “Japan” and you help him build an airfield and these crazy loud machines start showing up out of the sky and bring all manner of weird objects and display all manner of weird behaviors. You’re not stupid. You just can’t imagine that the box in the shack next to the airfield he talks into is linked to another man with a box far away with access to supply lines and transportation infrastructure. You have no way to imagine that, you’ve never seen a factory or a warehouse or any group of people larger than 500. Even if he teaches you how to use the box before he leaves, it’s never going to occur to you after the typhoon that you could talk to the man in the box and he would bring you tents and medicine. How would he? How could he? It’s a voice in a box. That’s not what boxes do.
    Or you are my aunt Kay, who insists on giving me directions. Anytime there is a funeral or some kind of event she insists on telling me how to get there. She just has no connection to the fact that because I can see the funeral home from space, that my phone tells me which way to go, I don’t want directions. I don’t need directions. She can’t imagine that. It makes no sense to her. People have always needed directions. She has an iphone with pics of all the kids on it, she plays solitaire on it, but it is outside her context that this little box could know where it is and tell me where to go.
    Mary is 80 and a sharp woman. She came from an island where they farmed spuds between the rocks and came here and raised boys and sent them to college, but as far as technology is concerned, she’s effing done. She topped out. Someday, man I hope not, but someday my grandkids may gently remind me that uploading your brain into a dog is a common thing and that I don’t have to get pissed when my bike gets jacked because of nanomaufacturing or teleporters or whatever.
    So, back to the problem of how can Google know where your posts are? How is it possible? GMG is small. Google is big. In the minds of a lot of otherwise sharp people there is no way that a big, global thing could understand a small, local thing. It’s outside their context. Why would I ask it where that great shot of Good Harbor from three months ago? How would it know that?
    Why would I ask the little man in the box where the picture is? What would he know?


  • Rant much Joey?


  • Joey, Here I am over 84 years old and I have learned so much from participating in your blog. I love looking up my name on the search block to see all of my post. I encourage all my friends to do so. Thank you for your patience and your support. You bring so much knowledge and joy to our community. Please do not get the negative get in the way of the wondeful service you provide to our community. Love, Virginia.


  • Joey,
    Some folks may be just scared of computers – I know when we first got computers the old military days Z-100 and had (word perfect and word star), etc…Had Programmers come and make a data base for me to enter all the units’ equipment by Unit Type Code (UTC) 1985 stand alone function. The programs forgot to tell me that I had to perform saves as auto save was not working or did not have! Anyway I spent all day on it cannot tell you how many records but one power outage wiped it clean… (I can say I wish I had Google long before would have made life better then, and I have made up for it now)!
    Dave 🙂


  • Good Post Joey – Could you email me a copy of it ? (kidding)


  • Joey, I have wondered this very thing when my husband asks me to search something and I think the answers above are very astute. Some folks are just more technically adept and comfortable with exploring technology beyond their comfort zone. Too, there is a difference in the “big picture” of how it all works and actual applications. Some people can learn how to use a computer for their needs but miss out on how it all works conceptually. Just like some have an aptitude for math, some have an aptitude for computer technology. For many of us, computers came to be at the end of our work lives so we may be less able to keep up with changes as readily as folks who start life using computers. Before I retired, I learned so much from the tech folks at work. Now I’m on my own (but do fairly well, I think). You youngsters grew up with computers and their use is second nature to you. But in the end, each of us is an individual and the reason, our own.


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