“I don’t know how to use The Googler.”
That was my 79-year-old mother’s response to why she didn’t research some question she had using the online search engine.
She didn’t miss a beat.
She does not understand that Google is a search engine. She does not understand the breadth and scope of the online universe.
But she knows that “The Googler” is that part of the world that is so universal to everyone around her that it should be known to her; just like her street or her neighbourhood or the backseat of her car -- familiar, recognizable, but with hidden elements of surprise everywhere.
I tip my hat to mother for knowing as much as she does about the digital world. I’m afraid I skirt around far more of it than I should, opting to beg favours and use the talented know-how of others around me, rather than taking more than a trepidatious few steps into this brave new world.
And what a new world it is.
My office and staff regularly come into collision with new technologies, interfaces, programs and procedures once occupied by the talents of other human beings. Quicker, more efficiently remote methods cut us off from human contact and capabilities to make things faster and more convenient.
We are constantly learning how to save time by doing more and investing in new processes to replace old procedures.
It all seems appropriate, but we often fall into discussions of how this all ends. When technology replaces us all, when no one cares if a human answers the telephone, when we can choose to live a full life with limited human contact, what happens to our global technologically based community when we are remote, and cold and more comfortable with our keyboards than with our cousins?
Is all hope lost?
And then one of my coworkers came in and announced she had used her online Paypal account to donate $10 to a woman in Texas who had saved a calf from an injury and liver ailment.
She saw the article on a newsfeed and was moved to make her $10 (US) donation.
“You did what?” I asked, through a mouthful of the lunchtime hamburger I had just unwrapped.
She proceeded to tell the mooooving tale of the calf, caught in a storm, injured. Rescued by the cattle farmer’s wife, the calf was moved INTO HER HOUSE and was nursed back to health. In the house!
The costs of healing the injured calf with liver disease began to mount so a friend took the tale to the online world, pleading for help and a little bovine intervention. It took just a few hours for the cash to start rolling in, topping $11,000 (US) in less than two weeks.
For a cow.
My mother may not know how to use The Googler. But someone does.