I had heard years ago about Google’s personalized search algorithm that delivered different results to different individuals based on the sites they had previously visited, but it wasn’t until about three weeks ago that I noticed my search results were looking overwhelmingly familiar. It made me wonder what I was missing. What were other people viewing that I was not?
So with a little bit of bravery – and a contrarian spirit – I put myself on a crash Google diet: no more Googling for one week. Could I do it? What revelations might this Google-free week reveal? Here are my lessons from my week without Google.
First, it was not as hard as I had thought it would be. I did not want to go a week without learning new things, so I had to find other avenues for finding answers to questions. There were plenty of alternatives. Twitter, Pinterest, and people I know were my most successful alternatives.
I turned to Twitter when I wanted to find some resources to talk to students about the dangers of perfectionism. Instead of opening a browser and using the Google search, I opened my Twitter app on my tablet and used the Discover tab. The app returned all the tweets that contained the word “perfectionism”. I read through the first 25 or so tweets, in chronological order. They had all been sent in the previous 24 hours. I scanned past the unhelpful ones quickly and found several that were on target. I liked the diversity of the sources people sited. One was from a professional conference being held that day, another was from a business managerial blog, and one was from an article for psychologists. I shared several of these sources with students in Tuesday’s announcements. Here are the tweets:
Notes from @falkowata’s talk at #dareconf about how to free yourself from perfectionism. Really enjoyed this!pic.twitter.com/vdfnmqfJA7
— Elisabeth Irgens (@elisabethirg) September 22, 2014
Here are 8 reasons being a perfectionist is holding you back – by @Inc http://t.co/qSreVVoeIE
— BI Strategy (@BI_Strategy) September 23, 2014