In a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack Freed shared this little quote – “Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of knowledge.” (Isaac Bashevis Singer). Jack went on to write – A little boy kept dipping a pail into the sea and running back to pour it into a hole. “What are you doing?” someone asked. “I’m emptying the ocean into this hole.” He replied. Basically, that explains our quest for knowledge.
Perhaps one appeal of the modern smartphone is that it acts like that little boy’s bucket and allows us to empty the ocean of knowledge into the hole in or heads. When we constantly “Google” things we are emptying the ocean of knowledge into our heads, one bucket-load at a time, at least that’s a rationalization that I like to think justifies my constant use of my smartphone.
Some people joke that their phone is smarter than they are and for some that may be true; however, the phone is just a conduit (a bucket, if you will) for accessing the vast ocean of knowledge that is floating all around us in the ubiquitous “cloud”. The Google search app just happens to be one of the better ways to access that knowledge. Google is just the modern and fast way to do what we’ve always done – look for and read and process information.
In the “good ole days” we might go to the library and look something up in a dictionary or an encyclopedia. It was a time-consuming exercise and perhaps not always successful, since you had to know where to look. Just like a Google search using the wrong search terms, you could end up not finding what you were looking for in the books that the library had available. Now we literally have all the books right at hand through the Internet and Google; however, if the results that you needed were on page 10 of the Goggle search results you may never find them. At the library we were shown how to use the card catalogue and the Dewey Decimal System to look up various books (undoubtedly now available on a computer at the library). Today we have to learn how to formulate the right inquiry for a search engine, in order to find what we need.
There are lots of bad habits that we can get into with modern technology, including the use of it while driving, and the pitfalls of the use of social media have been well documented. The use of modern technology and the search apps that are available is probably one of the good uses. Others, such as GPS-enables maps and location-based local information are good time-savers. Of course there are the amusements, too – games and music and video – which, if managed properly can be good things. All-in-all the smartphone is a great bucket to be carrying around with us, so long as we do not let it turn into a crutch that replaces thinking and good decision making or a master to which we become enslaved.
Got to go. I found a great event to go to today by Goggling “events in the local area”.