Internet > Humans?

While I was watching the Tony Awards last night (for the first time – I need more Broadway in my life, but that’s another story) with Chloe and Tiffany, an ad came on for a review site where you can look up contractors for home repair and maintenence. It showed two dads walking in the park, and one asks the other for a recommendation, and the other responds with one. The first guy starts demanding “Great! Can you run a quick background check on them for me and do all the things?” The second guy goes “deer-in-the-headlights,” and the message is clear:

Don’t bother asking real people anything. Because people are useless and can’t do any of the work for you. Just google everything. The internet knows way better than that guy.

And we wonder why our society feels so disconnected?

The internet is an amazing place to research, become informed, and equip yourself to make better decisions all around. I would never deny that. However, reading anonymous reviews cannot hold a candle to asking someone who knows you, face-to-face, what they have experienced. Even though the internet likely knows more about a given business, word pronunciation, or recipe, it cannot really help you after it spews all of its information into your lap.

Only humans can help you apply that information to your unique situation.I know this isn’t as simple as “ask a human” for everyone. Nor do I wish to disparage the gift of technology for making our world so much smaller and more accessible. It is truly amazing.

But I have to ask — when mental illness is on the rise, and isolation is so easy, should we really be discouraging people from “bothering” their neighbor?

Please. Bother me. It costs more in terms of time and effort, but the results are so much more meaningful in terms of simple connection with real, live human beings. Even if it’s just asking your neighbor who did their roof.