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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

To Search Or Not Search?

As a blogger, the effectiveness of Google and other Internet search engines is both a boon and a bane. Boon?  Fact checking, provided I use reliable websites, is fast and easy. Locating answers to trivia is a snap.

But if I have no facts to check, I purposefully stay away from trolling the Internet most of the time, especially just prior to posting. The vastness often stifles me more than it stimulates me. If I'm considering a topic and a search says "ten billion results found", my enthusiasm is dampened. Continuing in the bane-vein, more than once I've had a question ready and then discarded it after stumbling on a similar one elsewhere in cyberspace. I realize the chances of anyone noticing a duplicate question are probably nil but..

Over the past 18 months, I've purposefully sought out essays related to the influence artists in all fields have on one another. I've discovered artists feel flattered when they influence others but unhappy when they feel that influence has crossed a hard-to-identify line and become co-opting of their ideas. If smart people like Malcolm Gladwell or Jonathan Lethem have trouble identifying that line, or have themselves been accused by others of crossing it, this tiny blogger feels an obligation to be hyper-vigilant. So for me, the Internet is more bane than boon. If I make a mistake and unintentionally step on someone else's stuff, at least my integrity remains intact. I'll save the searching for restaurants, directions, and finding friends on Facebook.

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