The Power of Google

I just got done reading some of my list digests for knitting design lists. One of the topics has been customer questions. A thread that started as a result of discussion about pattern writing styles. I am still amazed at some of the types of emails that designers get.

Case in point: one designer on the list had received an email from someone who did not know how to do i-cord. Apparently the instructions for that were not included in the pattern. A simple enough question, and one readily answered by going to Google or knitting reference books. When I get these types of emails (they are infrequent) I typically go to my favorite online reference and find the url for the video or tutorial and send them the url. I tell them that there are some really good knitting sites out there that are good references for knitting. I also tell them references for a few knitting books (if applicable).

In the above situation, not only did this person not know i-cord (no crime on her part, we cannot know everything) or know how to Google (again, no crime on her part, we cannot know everything and not everyone online has the same proficiency), but she emailed the designer several times throughout the day, upset that she had not an answer yet (there was an 11 hour difference in time between her time zone and that of the designer) and upset that she was confronted with something she had not seen in her many years of knitting.

It is at this point that we groan.

Designers by and large have to supplement their income with other types of work in order to make a living. Teaching, books, tech editing, subscription newsletters, magazine and yarn company work, that sort of thing.  I work part time as a nurse and part time as a designer. It is a labor of love. Love for the art and craft.

Debating the topic of whether it should or should not have been included in the pattern is a whole issue itself and not really the point of this topic. There is a spoon-fed and instant mentality that we often have. We are not expected to think for ourselves and when confronted with the necessity of doing so, it can sometimes be difficult.

Just look at the warning labels on things. Everything from curling irons to those little bags of anti-desiccant you see put in with shoes have warnings that you would hope someone would not need instruction on. Curling irons tell you not to insert into body orifices while warm (ouch, and thanks for the unwanted visual). The little bags mentioned above are printed with warnings not to eat.

Hello, folks likely to do that are usually young, as in young children and toddlers, or the mentally handicapped who are at a low functioning level and sometimes suffer from pica (a drive to eat inedible things). You might have to watch folks with dementia or other similar disorders, too.

At some point, someone along the way was taught by the system that they did not have to think for themselves. If for example I had someone in my care that was unable to function on their own and likely to eat one of those inedible goodie bags, I would make sure it didn’t get into the hands of the one in my care. If it did, I certainly would not blame the manufacturer for not telling me not to eat it. You mean those little bags packed with shoes and other items are not snacks for hungry shoppers? I really wish they would give us more credit than that.

Where this is going I am not sure to be honest. I wish more folks were self empowered, I guess. We are too restricted by fear in many ways. Fear of not knowing. Dislike of new situations, new technology, new ways of doing things because it is not comfortable for us. And we don’t think to do some sleuthing ourselves. We either don’t want to look for ourselves or want everything that we need in every pattern. We want more information as beginners and want less information when we are experienced. That of course is in the same pattern.

Online, we have Google. A cool and powerful tool that leads down many roads of adventure. Wouldn’t it be great if life in general had a Google button? And that we all knew how to use it, boldly surfing our way to what we want. Be bold, my knitting friends. Search and learn. Tailor your learning to your needs in a way that no single pattern ever can.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene


2 Responses to “The Power of Google”

  1. LaurieM Says:

    To be fair to the manufacturers of the packets of anti-desiccant, it is possible for the packet to be separated from the shoe, or whatever. It is also possible that someone picking over trash looking for something to eat, might mistaken such a packet for sugar or something else tasty. Given the American legal system and the tendency to see lawsuits as a way to make money, you could see where a manufacturer would feel it necessary to cover their legal butts.

  2. jolenetreace Says:

    So true. My point is not meant to be directed to the manufacturer, who has to protect themselves, but at the learned helplessness of the individual. The individual no longer has to be accountable for their own behaviour.

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