Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Have you tried Google?

I'm going to have a rant and it's probably not going in the direction you're expecting.

Disclaimer: Before I begin, remember that it's none of this should be taken too seriously ; )

I'm a member of a number of Facebook sewing/quilting groups and find them really useful for both inspiration and support. One thing really bugs me though. The response:

"Have you tried Google?"

"Why no. No I haven't. In fact, I never even considered using the World's largest and most well-known search engine to perform a search. You're clearly some sort of genius that should be worshipped by us mere mortals with our crazy ideas and irritating questions. We should keep off your grass." (I told you it bugged me right?)

Now don't get me wrong. I understand how frustrating it is to have your valuable Facebook social media technical research time completely wasted by having to read a two line question in a forum that exists for people to ask questions in...and that you voluntarily signed up for. I get it. I really do.

Here's the thing though...

When I post a question in a group, it's because I'm after an answer from that group. For example, if I ask "does anyone have a pattern for a toddler skirt?". It's not because I'm too stupid to type 'Toddler skirt pattern' into Google. It's not because I'm too lazy to trawl through the hundreds and hundreds of results to find something I like. It's because I'm looking for a tried and tested pattern that other people have actually made and are happy to recommend. It's because I'm trying to support independent designers and know that the group will give me some great names beyond what I can find at Spotlight.

Maybe I'll ask "What online shop do you use for your business?". Yes, I can get a list of online shops from Google, but that's not what I asked. I asked what shop YOU were using. I'm after feedback on the pros and cons of the available options from the people actually using them.  Now, before anyone gets their panties in a bunch about "I worked hard to find that information out so I'm not sharing with you" or  "do your own research", I think you'll find this IS research.  Asking for other people's feedback and opinions is a valid method for finding information. You're more than welcome to not hand over the information, but a person shouldn't be ridiculed for asking.

It comes down to one thing. Be nice. If you can't give a genuinely useful answer, then simply don't give one at all. It's not helping anyone and you just look like a jerk.

And to the people that don't search on Google before posting a question..."Have you tried Google?".


  1. Ha! I'm the same. I love hearing about peoples' own experiences and that's why I ask certain questions in certain forums. I even usually start my questions with "in your experience...". I still get snide comments. People suck.

    1. It's so frustrating. I usually do a lot of research before I ask questions on anything. Books, magazines, Google etc. I even read through different forums to see if people have asked similar questions. It's very rare for me to just blurt out a question without thinking, so it's really annoying to then be spoken to like I'm just being lazy and have no business there.

  2. I think it depends on the type of question because there is a difference between open ended (your examples of finding patterns and shops) and closed answers (when there is only one specific possible outcome - such as needing a shop's phone number).

    I find as a crafting community, there are more open ended questions as the information and styles and interests out there are so varied. Someone might know a pattern that doesn't show up on google because it's old/not from someone popular/broken links. There are heaps of online shops out there that I've not heard of too, including etsy sellers which I don't normally think to look at that could be suggested.

    Before sewing, I was in a computer gaming community and I was one of those "use google" people because the community would constantly be drowned in the closed-answer type questions like "what is the cheat code to do [stuff]" and "what is release date of [game']". There's one simple answer to those questions because there is only one code and one date and you can type in the exact phrases you put into a forum post into google and get the answer right away without waiting for a response! For a crafting example, if someone posts in a community along the lines of "where can I buy the Swoon pattern" , that's kind of annoying because you only need to type "Swoon pattern" into google and Camille's site pops up first and there's your answer.

    Apart from blogs, i don't really follow a lot of crafting forums etc so I don't see a lot of either type of question anyway :D

    1. A great point. There are definitely some questions that would be answered quicker with a Google search. In fact, sometimes the answer has to be "Have you tried Google?" but usually more along the lines of "Have you tried searching for in Google?"

      I also come from an IT background and, with that crowd, would happily use "Have you tried Google?" as a valid response to a question because, generally, you're dealing with reasonably computer literate people. I find the craft world a little different, though, with a greater number of less computer-savvy folk. Even people that are great with Facebook, for example, can struggle in other aspects of IT. I've seen some users confused with the concept of being emailed a PDF pattern. For them, using Google to find an answer may not be as straight forward as it is to others.

      Of course, there are some plain old lazy people out there too...but let's not get me started on them ; )