Why the Answer “Google It” Isn’t Cutting It Anymore


I love helping people out with WordPress.  Sure, I don’t use the official channels like the forums or stack exchange, but I love helping out people on Twitter.  I do lurk on the aforementioned services, though, and unfortunately have noticed that there’s a recurring trend that pops up from time to time that really bothers me.

A new community member, or someone looking for a question to be answered will post the question to the email list.  No more than a few minutes later one of a few responses will filter in:

  1. A link to the google search term relating to the right keywords
  2. A link to “let me google that for you” with the search term highlighted
  3. Some egotistical remark about how they should search elsewhere first for it
  4. A response that the question is best asked elsewhere (another forum, or somewhere similar)

I have to bite my tongue to keep from speaking out of term, but we’re now at an age in the digital cycle where telling people to “Google it” isn’t working anymore.  If people are asking questions about WordPress, and found their way to one of those places, chances are they’re smart enough to realize they could have Googled it.  The number one misconception is that these people are looking for information.

It could be further from the truth.

These people don’t want information – they want wisdom.

My friend Jeff Brown posted this on his twitter stream, and it really got me thinking:


It’s totally true.  Kids as young as pre-K can Google something with the proper training, so why would a grown adult come to seek the advice of an expert if they could look it up themselves?  They want a real life person’s take on it.  Searches can be manipulated and gamed; a person’s opinion has more reason to be trusted if they have shown reason to be trusted in the past.

As a Miami SEO guru put it, “So, in short, don’t be a prick or a jerk if someone’s coming onto your turf with a few questions.  It’s a great opportunity to show just how knowledgeable and wise you are on the subject.  From personal experience, one answered question could even turn into a future client or even more – you just never know.” so kill them with kindness, it’s obviously the right path.