It’s a question I often ponder, not just because I have a website that I would love for more people to find, but because I genuinely want to understand others. If people did some searching before asking, sites like lmgtfy.com (let me Google that for you) wouldn’t exist.
I mean, even my husband is guilty of this from time to time. He’ll text me asking for someone’s phone number, even though he has the same app on his phone I’m going to use to find the answer.
I see this a LOT in Facebook groups. Someone will ask a question in the group that has literally been asked about a thousand times before. Or, instead of researching something themselves they want everyone else to do the leg work for them. For example, asking a question with about a million questions inside that would require an entire 1000 word essay to answer the whole thing.
So, when I came across these questions today, it got me wondering, why is it that people don’t just search for the answers to their questions?? I came up with a few reasons.
They want real endorsements
When you are looking for a specific doctor or dentist, you want to hear from people who have been there and who have already had personal experiences with visiting them. You want to know the handyman you want to call will actually show up.
These true-life testimonials are really what they are searching for. They can read a million reviews online, but people giving their true opinion can be vital in someone’s decision-making process. It’s just like asking good friends who they would recommend, only on a larger scale.
In these cases, if you have something good to recommend, go for it! If you don’t have anything to add, just keep scrolling. It’s not hurting you by being there.
They don’t know how to search
Facebook is really great, but some of its features aren’t very intuitive. Many people don’t understand or know how to search specifically within a group. This really isn’t their fault, they just don’t know the technology.
For those that don’t know, searching within a group on Facebook is actually very easy. Once you are inside the group the search icon at the top will automatically limit itself to searching within the group.
Now Facebook has even rolled out a “tagging” feature that will allow moderators to tag various posts and assign them different topics. So if you are looking for something in one of those topics, you can click on the tag and see all of the related posts.
If it’s clear they don’t know how to search, you can NICELY let them know how easy it is to search the group, AND try to answer their question in the same comment. That way you can help them out on both fronts! They can benefit by finding additional posts about the same thing, and they can have your current comment to guide them.
They feel like learning new things might be too hard
Too many people give up before they even try, especially with technology. They think that they will never understand it, so they don’t even bother.
My heart really goes out to these people. I want to help them. I want them to know if they find the right resources, they will be able to understand the answers to the questions they have.
Daily I am told that I must think the person I’m trying to help is SO DUMB because they don’t understand, know how to manage, or know how to fix what is happening with their devices. I say the same thing to everyone who says that says this to me, “If you knew everything that I know, I wouldn’t have a job”.
Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Just because I can’t cook or craft to save my life, doesn’t mean that I’m a big dummy! Just because you don’t know everything there is to know about technology doesn’t make you a big dummy either.
You don’t need to completely understand the question to find the answer you are looking for. I try, on this website, to put technology in easier to understand terms so everyone can get what they need and want from the devices in their home.
They are really just lazy to search and don’t care
Finally, sometimes people are just lazy. I’m lazy sometimes. It’s not a character flaw. Sometimes it’s easier to just ask a question than searching and searching for the answer.
For example, during election season I saw someone ask in our local city Facebook group who they should vote for! Instead of looking through the candidates and seeing if their platform and philosophies are in line with the poster’s own thoughts on social issues, they decided to crowdsource the answer.
I get that it can be easier, but just remember that the answers you get might not actually be the best answer for you. Everyone has a bias. If you ask me the best phone or computer to get, it’s not going to include an Apple device. Although, the right answer FOR YOU might be an Apple device.
So, anytime you are feeling a little lazy, don’t just take the responders word for it, take that advice and use it to jump-start your own research.
There really are even more reasons people don’t search for their own answers. Let’s all just try to be a little kinder to them and try to answer their question, even if it’s been asked a million times, as nicely as we answered the question the first time it was asked. We could all use a little more kindness online. #AmIRight??
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com