Now, I don’t know how old you are. So you may or may not remember the time when you used to have to wonder about things. Like, the name of the character actor in that movie. Or even the name of that movie that you saw years ago. Or the name of the album that has the song on it that you love. There were so many pieces of information that just weren’t readily available. So you would have to wonder. And ask people. And research it in books or magazines. Or even go to the library.
Welp, those days are gone. Ha. Now we’ve got a computer that’s connected to the internet at all times and the world is at our fingertips. And while that’s a wonderful thing, because now you can you look up all of Keanu Reeve’s filmography in mere moments. And realize that it was him who played Martha Plimpton’s boyfriend in Parenthood and close that open loop in your mind. Hooray!
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It also means that now, research is really your responsibility
You’ve got no excuse not to know stuff. And let me tell you, most days, I see a lot of questions from folks that are easily answered with a quick Google search. Whether that’s a question on the Facebook page for my kids’ school’s PTO, or an email from someone I’ve never met, or even a friend at a dinner party. Yes, it’s helpful to talk to someone who has firsthand experience of what you’re interested in. But information is so easily accessed these days that it’s on all of us to do our own research before we ask someone else if we can pick their brain.
Seriously, there is likely an answer to whatever your question is that’s only .2 seconds away. Once you know the basics, you can have a more detailed conversation about it, absolutely, but it won’t be someone else’s responsibility to give you the basic education.
Even though research is accessible to everyone, doing it is also how you stand out.
If you need to reach out to someone you don’t know for any kind of networking reason, a quick search of their LinkedIn profile or personal website or Google will likely yield a really interesting tidbit about them that you can share in your email and will definitely endear you (so long as it doesn’t come from your going back several months or years on their social media feed, because, even though we’ve all done it, it’s a little creepy).
If there’s something going on in your city, like a tax that you don’t agree with, or a speed bump that you think needs to be addressed, do a little research on it before you go venting in an online forum for your neighborhood.
There’s no real to-do from this episode, just a pep talk to inspire you to remember that research is daily part of our lives now. Put it to good use for you, and let it help you have more in depth and meaningful conversations with the folks who know more than you do about something.
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