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How to Stop Soft Googling and Start Living

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What it means

Aimless googling all kinds of staff. For example, when you need to write a graduation thesis, and you somehow find yourself reading an article about feeding habits of fur seals.

Etymology

Derives from soft and Google.

How to use the word

The class was so boring, I was soft googling just to stay awake.

In English, there are already dozens of words similar to “google”: yougle (from YouTube), wikipoodle (from Wikipedia), amazoning (from Amazon). Previously, the word “surfing” was used in a similar sense. The expression is similar to soft goods, which means “virtual goods” — they are bought and received via the Internet (for example, programs, texts, pictures, music).

Why

Everyone procrastinates. Thank God, smartphones and mobile Internet allow you to do this easily and on the quiet. Soft googling successfully fills the time that was previously spent on drawing men and airplanes, sea battle, tic-tac-toe, reading recipes and reviewing catalogs.

Everyone who uses the Internet more than once a day does it — in a situation where he or she is bored and needs to kill time. If he or she is at the office, and the salary depends more on business hours than on the results. If he or she waits for someone, sits through an unbearably dull lecture, queues, or even comes to someone’s place where uninteresting topics are discussed. This is a harmless and painless anesthesia for those who suffer from the meaninglessness of what is happening.

Like any anesthesia, soft googling works only when limited, while an overdose poses serious problems. Being forced to quit a job, for instance. A couple years ago, this happened to an employee of the Massachusetts Water Department. For a whole year, he worked at his computer doing everything except the work itself. His bosses didn’t notice.

But then a new leader took charge of the department. Once, she asked for the promised minutes of a department meeting. After waiting ten days, she opened the employee’s computer and found that exactly at the moment when the work on making those minutes was supposed to be in process, he was watching the Hogan’s Heroes TV series (a strange choice, but tastes differ), chatting with his mistress, browsing dating sites and job searching. All this would not have been news if the employee had not been engaged in soft googling for a full year. A thought of performing his duties didn’t even cross his mind.

Natalia Konradova

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