How to find the answers to nearly everything

by Julie on July 22, 2009

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A client just sent me a file that I couldn’t open. So, I did two things:

  1. I sent out a tweet asking for help.
  2. I searched the Internet for the answer.

I got my answer from both places, well, really the same place since Twitter is on the Internet. The Internet has the answer to almost everything. Just type in your question.

Okay – I know what you’re thinking. ‘She’s pulling my leg. This post is a joke.’ But it isn’t. It’s a lesson in why social media is so exciting, why it works so well.

In my life online, I have come across countless obstacles of a wide variety and I have quickly and simply answered every single one of them. Here are just a few:

  1. Technology – e.g. what is an .mht file and how do I open it on my Mac?
  2. Grammar – e.g. does the period really go inside the quotation mark?
  3. Health – e.g. are there any herbs that help dissolve kidney stones?
  4. Trivia – e.g. what did Kramer use as aftershave on Seinfeld?

I could go on and on. But the point is that most people can’t create such a list – I mean, they have the questions, but not the easy and simple answers. They have a problem and they call someone and pay them for their help (waste of money) or they spend hours trying to do it themselves (waste of time). When all they really need to do, is type their question into their browser or search bar.

Because we’re punching the question into a machine, there is doubt that the question is heard, that the answer will come. But, guess what, the question is being sent out to people. And people respond.

When I found the answer to my .mht problem, the blog’s author had written this at the bottom of his wonderfully helpful post:

You will be amazed how much great stuff can be found there. And usually, someone has already encountered your problem and made a fix for it.

He was sending us to Firefox’s bastion of add-ons…but the sentiment is universal. And here’s a fabutastic side to social media: we all like to share. We don’t figure out the answer and hide it away! No way. We write about it, we publish it, we share it with the world.

The benefits for ‘the world’ are:

  • Help
  • Support
  • Speed
  • Free
  • Fast

The benefits for the publisher / problem-solver:

  • Feels good to share
  • Positioned as Expert
  • Exposure
  • Search engine boost
  • Clients/work/donations/moolah

Think about that the next time you need a question answered – because they solutions are all right there waiting for you to find them.

Think about it the next time someone tells you should start a blog and you think you have nothing to write about and nothing to share. How many problems have you solved for work? How many answers have you found in life? Please, add your knowledge.

Thrilled I found this picture! Image credit: adactio (from the photo note: “I found this book sitting on a shelf in my local pub. It’s a Victorian guide to life. When Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, he briefly toyed with the idea of calling it Enquire Within Upon Everything. “

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barbara Oliver July 22, 2009 at 6:05 pm

another very neat post! Like.

2 Julianne July 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm

How right you are! This week I have found answers to the menu at a local restaurant, how to tell if a finger is really broken, and the how much sleep does one really need. The internet is a god send!

3 Esther April 9, 2011 at 11:15 am

MLUCA3 At last, someone comes up with the “right” answer!

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