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Allie Talk: We’ve Got to Stop Relying on Dr. Google

Like most people, whenever I have a problem, I turn to the All Powerful Google. Have an acne flare up? I Google the best supplement to prevent it from happening again. Awake late at night wondering why my kid is acting up? You bet I’m searching that, too. Dreaming of escaping the summer heat? Google is my #1 travel agent.

Google is a lifesaver, but it can also be problematic. A quick answer right at your fingertips is unbelievably empowering, but it has a darkside. It has trained us to want and need the one definitive answer to any problem we might have. But the hard truth is, there’s no one-size fits all solution. Let’s just face it: life is more complicated than that.

I’ve run into this problem when trying to find the answer to so many different problems in my life. Recently, I found myself Googling “Why is this baby crying?” (yes, I was that desperate!). The answers were as frustrating as you might imagine. The problem, Google told me, was me. I was eating too much dairy (I don’t eat dairy), I needed to lighten up on the caffeine (which, of course, was the only thing getting me through the sleep-deprived days). There was just no answer that made sense for what was happening in my family and with my baby that didn’t rely on the tired trope of blaming the mom.

I would love it if there was one universal answer to questions like this, one solution to quiet the piercing wails of all the Astors in the world. That would be amazing, especially for my poor eardrums. But life just doesn’t work that way. Human beings are more complicated than that and our technology isn’t that smart at picking up on nuance.

Don’t get me wrong — Google can be great. How can you beat a database that has almost every piece of information available on Earth? The key is to know how and when to use it, and how to tell when the answers are bullshit or just not right for you. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with a health or skin problem.

Veracity’s social and community marketing manager, Neely, found this out when she was trying to find a protein supplement to support the hours she was spending in the dance studio. Her friends told her that a certain type of protein was the answer, the influencers she followed agreed, and Google backed them all up. Yet, that protein was not for Neely as her stomach was quick to let her know.

When she tried to Google why it was causing her stomach problems — crickets. All she found in the results were praise. She felt like she was the only person in the world having a bad reaction. So, Neely set about figuring it out for herself. She spent tons of money on supplements she immediately had to ditch after having the same reaction and realized that the common denominator was one ingredient: whey. With that clue, Google switched sides and became a force for good, helping Neely find a supplement that she could take without keeling over in pain.

Who among us hasn’t had an experience like that? 

Our healthcare system is broken in so many ways (that’s an issue for another day!) and Google can be a great supplement when doctors are expensive and rushed. Also, let’s face it, Google’s not going anywhere and we would be lost without it.

But maybe we should stop relying solely on an algorithm that can get us from point A to point B on any major roads — on the path of least resistance — but falls silent when we want to take the scenic route to solve an issue as complicated as humans.

People have been trying to crack that code for years. If all the big thinkers haven’t been able to do it, why do we think Google can? We are gorgeous, we are unique, and we are beyond simple categorization. Let’s embrace it.

Have a question for Allie? Email [email protected].

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