October 2009 Archives

This is not an emergency story. It's a story about getting a cup of sugar:

Our son has had the classic flu this week: fever, stomach upset and fatigue. Then he got better. For a day or so he was up and around and close to his normal self. Then, the fever returned. It wasn't 102 as it had been during the first bout but it was a fever. He clocked in at 100.

We Googled. We read. Everything we read advised us to call our doctor. But the entries never told us why we should do this. It seemed a simple piece of information but it couldn't be found. We weren't frantic but we were curious. That the information was hard to find was irritating.

I turned to the Twitter hive mind and asked:

Hivemind: Why do doctors care so much if a child's fever returns after going away for 24 hours. Anyway, that's what's up with us.

The response was wonderful-- heartwarming and fast. The answer: doctors worry because the second fever suggests the child has developed a secondary infection (bronchitis, pneumonia, or something else).

This wasn't one of those heroic stories of social media coming to the rescue. Man collapses at the keyboard and Internet friends call 911. It was a simple easy conveyance of information. In all of the writing about Twitter this is one aspect that's missed as people make grand claims for it. Twitter doesn't need to overthrow governments. It can simply loan you a cup of sugar when you need it.

...here comes my son. He's woken up and he's trying to hide behind the door jamb. Maybe he's feeling better.

Thank you to the following Twitter users who pitched in:

@KatyCamp @KathyBridges @DrRobH @Hexham67 @strbuk @msnilwar @nursethomas @nickersonian @johnzep @acavert

UPDATE: We called the doctor. Our son was feeling better. His temperature was actually down. We called the doctor anyway. They asked us to come in. They took his temperature. It was normal. They put a swab down his throat. He did not like that at all. However, it was worth it. He has strep. Good thing we went.

A few years ago, when a friend of mine found that she could look up her name on this new thing called Google, she was delighted. She typed in her maiden name and up came a list of theater performances she'd been in as a young woman. "I've won the Google," she proclaimed. She was making fun of her thin understanding of the technology. Since she's English and very amusing this sounded sweet and funny and also made a kind of sideways sense which is the only kind of sense worth having at times.


I was reminded of this when considering people who can't be bothered to Google the simplest information. I'm not talking about mere ignorance. (If I were, I'd be talking about myself.) We don't have the time to look up every little thing in our lives. I'm talking about active, aggressive ignorance. I'm talking about at least two kinds of people. First, the kinds who form deep opinions about things without even first checking at least Google to see if there's anything to their claims. Second, people who send emails, Twitter messages and place phone calls asking questions that can be answered with a simple Google search. In these two cases, if there were prizes to be given, we'd know what it would mean to Lose the Google.

Related: Let me Google that for you.

Also related: Those who Reckon (via Merlin Mann)

Aplus.net destroyed the blog for a week or so. Everyone has had to suffer through that Flowbee posting which I've now deleted because it wasn't that funny in the first place.

That is a lesson: pay attention to each posting. What you might have thought was a whimsical notion that would get buried by later posts may very well wind up being your statement to the world for a period of time. Fortunately we're back on line for now.

UPDATE: Thanks to the amazing Caysha Steger at Aplus and the extraordinary Xande Anderer.
for all of their very hard work getting the blog back on line.