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"A wise son maketh a glad father." -- Proverbs 10:1
May 17, 2011 10:09 PM   Subscribe

Kid tells his 81 year old Dad that The Twitter is a search engine.

Yeah, probably fake, but so what, it's funny.
posted by orthogonality (121 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
dahahah "empty threes"
posted by bayani at 10:12 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


john stewart jew
posted by Redfield at 10:14 PM on May 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Interesting...I had no idea "kid" could encompass folks potentially aged 0-60. (Of course, now I'm really hoping there's some internet-savvy boomer out there pranking octogenarians.)
posted by phunniemee at 10:19 PM on May 17, 2011


Because old people are computer illiterates.
posted by crunchland at 10:20 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hope this is fake. The idea that it isn't makes me terribly sad. I can't quite articulate why. On some level, I guess I feel a sense of shame on behalf of a person out there trying to learn how to use this new, foreign technology to connect with others, while his own child is taking advantage of his naivety to try to make us laugh at his dad. Maybe I'm humorless and I need to get over it, but I'm still just sad.
posted by decathecting at 10:20 PM on May 17, 2011 [163 favorites]


I don't quite see the humor in making an public ass out of your father. Maybe it is because I am fast approaching that age and have kids, but not so funny or interesting to me.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:22 PM on May 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


erase or forget a memory

:(
posted by Rhaomi at 10:22 PM on May 17, 2011 [26 favorites]


Why can't I load these twitter links anymore? I noticed it the other day with the Tyler the Creator post.
posted by unliteral at 10:22 PM on May 17, 2011


I hope this is fake. The idea that it isn't makes me terribly sad. I can't quite articulate why.

I think I can. Anyone with all their facilities would catch on that it's not after the first couple "searches" didn't turn up anything. If this is true, the joke isn't just that the trick happened, the joke is that his father is senile enough to keep at it for weeks.
posted by kafziel at 10:22 PM on May 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


If this post doesn't get featured on the sidebar, I'll eat my hat.
posted by crunchland at 10:23 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fucking Twitter fucking breaks my fucking back button.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:23 PM on May 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


decathecting: yeah, I hope it's fake for the same reason.
posted by orthogonality at 10:24 PM on May 17, 2011


the joke is that his father is senile enough to keep at it for weeks.

It's possible, but I don't think so. That would mean he's so senile he doesn't realize that none of his searches ever return results, but is also aware enough of what's going on in the world to do searches for things like "osama dead photo."

I'd put my money on fake.

And thank god for that. Otherwise I'd want to kick something.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:28 PM on May 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Imagine if someone put your search history up on twitter like this. I think it would be cause for justifiable homicide.
posted by crunchland at 10:31 PM on May 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


So, um... wouldn't the dad catch on when he saw the "My dad is 81 years old. I'm teaching him how to use the internet. I told him twitter was how to search things on Google. These tweets are what he's searching" blurb at the top of his twitter account?
posted by iconomy at 10:32 PM on May 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think it's fake because I've never been able to older people new to computers how to do keyword searches like that. Or almost even the concept of it.
posted by bleep at 10:33 PM on May 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Clearly fake. Who the hell searches for "Mine Kamf"? You either don't know what it is at all, or you know exactly what it is.
posted by JauntyFedora at 10:38 PM on May 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


I've got an 81 year old Dad that I'm trying to teach the computer to - he's really giving it his all, but it's slow going. The thought of someone playing a trick on him like this is fucking disgusting. There's a big difference between "Shit My Dad Says" and "Shitting On My Dad".
posted by V4V at 10:44 PM on May 17, 2011 [33 favorites]


I've been using twitter for years and I still can't easily follow the rat's nest of replies and retweets that constitute a "conversation" on twitter. #shame
posted by mecran01 at 10:44 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is most certainly fake.

Just think about the technology of it: the dad understands that google is a thing, that search on the internet is a thing, and knows enough to open up the web browser. Let's say Twitter is the home page when IE opens. He gets the box at the top that asks him "What's happening?" He knows enough to click in the box and type there. When he types a "search" and presses return, the only thing that happens is that his search word shows up suddenly below the box. He can look to the right and see how many followers he has. ("Followers? Get offa my lawn!") He can certainly see well enough to type, so he's aware enough to read. He wouldn't keep typing things into the box if it didn't give him actual search results. I just don't see how this is physically possible to be real.

It's meant to be lolparents, but the 81 year-old part of it makes it unwittingly mean.
posted by incessant at 10:44 PM on May 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


erase or forget a memory

:(


Came in here to say that.
posted by nzero at 10:47 PM on May 17, 2011


If this were real, it would be pretty horrible.

Reminds of of the Something Awful AOL search logs.
posted by MrFTBN at 10:49 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


It'd be more believable if this person just said he was going to post all of his dad's google searches.
posted by mullacc at 10:51 PM on May 17, 2011


Well, it probably is fake. But not because the old man would notice the lack of search results etc. Setting up a browser home page to have a search box that (a) returns google search results and (b) also posts the text string to a twitter account would be a trivial-ish scripting job.
posted by vidur at 10:52 PM on May 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


erase or forget a post
posted by pracowity at 10:58 PM on May 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


what is this I'm just looking for a used car?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:58 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


BFD, my search history is hilarious too.
posted by aubilenon at 11:00 PM on May 17, 2011


erase or forget douchebag son
posted by Ratio at 11:01 PM on May 17, 2011 [18 favorites]


He can certainly see well enough to type, so he's aware enough to read

I don't know whether it's fake or not, but I do not believe your reasoning is sound. My grandmother is the same age as purported for this guy and I have her internet set up so all she has to do is click an icon on the desktop and then do some activities on the page that comes up (click this part of the screen for email, click this part for stock info, etc). She has the sequence of actions memorized. On the rare occasions when her homepage has changed, someone has had to literally go there and show her how to use the new configuration. She doesn't read what she's clicking, or grok even the most superficial technical aspects of what's going on. She knows all about Google, she owns stock in Google, she knows it's called a search engine, but she continually does things that betray total ignorance of what that really means by e.g. conflating the AT&T connection screen (her dial up service provider) with Google, or trying to type her email password into the computer at the login screen. She is very literate, but I think it's like anything else- if you're out of your element, things can be so distracting and confusing that it's hard to bring your attention in to focus enough to navigate without simply memorizing a sequence of actions.

Just my $0.02.
posted by nzero at 11:01 PM on May 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


I think the tell is that it employs basic comedic escalation when read in reverse chronological order.

If a minorly skilled humor writer was to imagine what a funny 81-year-old twitter/search feed was to look like, and then set about creating it while trying to maximize laughs, this is probably what it would look like.

I was hoping it wouldn't show up here, because it's pretty low, easy stuff.
posted by anazgnos at 11:05 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Come on, does anyone actually think this is real? Dad may be getting old, but why would he keep plugging away at a search engine that doesn't work? If true I'd imagine you'd get two, three tweets tops.
posted by zardoz at 11:07 PM on May 17, 2011


Come on, does anyone actually think this is real?

Maybe. I do not think he would keep plugging away at a search engine that doesn't work. I think that in order for this to be real, the son would have to have configured the dad's browser to tweet and google search at the same time, which should be simple to do.
posted by nzero at 11:11 PM on May 17, 2011


Bo...gus.
posted by gallois at 11:12 PM on May 17, 2011


comedic escalation when read in reverse chronological order

The Shirley Tarnow thing is funnier in correct chronological order. First he introduces her (class of blah blah) and then later asks if she's a widow...
posted by nzero at 11:13 PM on May 17, 2011


diane sawyer swimsuit pictures

Awesome. If not fake.

It really is probably fake. I've helped a few older folks with computers where they have the same issues that nzero grandmother has. One of them was my own grandmother post stroke.

The thing that makes me think that this is fake is that a lot of the searches are obviously guesses by a younger person about what an older person would search for.

But "cold toes" and "soft snacks" isn't something I've ever seen someone 70-80+ search for. It's like people of that age don't even think about searching stuff like that. They don't think about the internet as a place to ask these kinds of every day questions, because it's like a TV or VCR. Arguing with your TV or VCR is a sign of insanity. It's the sort of thing they would talk to a friend about, or ask a doctor, or just go to the store and look for something to eat, or warmer socks to buy.

Beyond email with friends and family - what they do search for in my experience is things they see on TV or read in books or magazines, or topics of interest like a hobby or historical interest (intermediate to advanced), or simply clicking on links that friends and family send to them. One older person I knew spent a lot of time with Yahoo, as well as keeping up on a certain segment of sports - but it was a lot of "portal" activity, rarely was it plumbing the depths of google or using forums or searching forums.

If they do get into advanced searching, they also tend to like to search for people, not topics or things.


And this is really all just a failure of natural language in search, or a natural interface on a computer. They generally don't get the mental concept or space of a search string, or what a boolean operator is... how a search string is really just the short end of an algorithm, the equation to the unseen algorithm on a search engine.

It's kind of backwards to human thinking, and demonstrates the innate, oh, autistic-like nature of computers. People aren't dumb - computers are dumb.
posted by loquacious at 11:15 PM on May 17, 2011 [12 favorites]


Reason #N+1 why this absolutely, obviously is fake: every search is both humorous and unique.

No repetitions, no simple variations (Diane Sawyer swimwear pictures, Estelle Getty swimwear pictures, Esther Williams swimwear pictures, ...), just comedy one-liners.

Seriously, some people need to cultivate some reasonable skepticism.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:20 PM on May 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


erase or forget a memory

It's funnier if you consider the memory he's trying to erase is his little shit of a son.

But yeah, it's fake.
posted by formless at 11:23 PM on May 17, 2011


No repetitions, no simple variations (Diane Sawyer swimwear pictures, Estelle Getty swimwear pictures, Esther Williams swimwear pictures, ...), just comedy one-liners.

Seriously, some people need to cultivate some reasonable skepticism.


Seriously, some people need to cultivate some reading skills.

Also, you are a rude little boy.
posted by nzero at 11:26 PM on May 17, 2011


Sh*t My Dad Searches?

Yeah, not gonna happen.
posted by vidur at 11:28 PM on May 17, 2011


Metafilter: You are a rude little boy.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:33 PM on May 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Clearly fake. Who the hell searches for "Mine Kamf"? You either don't know what it is at all, or you know exactly what it is.

Maybe you're really into that stuff, but I think lots of people are still confused about Minecraft.
posted by orthogonality at 11:45 PM on May 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'd love to see the reaction on "kid's" face when "81-year-old dad" does a search on "boarding school" or "orphanage."

Of course, no search results would come up (again!), so really nothing to worry about, I guess...

Now, if this were real, the only way this could be enjoyable was if the dad in question were Hugh Hefner, but alas, he's 85. That would explain the swimsuit searches though, am I right?
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 11:47 PM on May 17, 2011


If this is real: The guy who did this to his 81 year old father just so he could make the internet laugh is a douche.

If this is fake: Obligitory Mine(craft) Kampf.
posted by chemoboy at 11:51 PM on May 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I would love to see the search streams of various celebrities or even just random people. Hugh Hefner would probably actually be boring, though. What's he going to do, google for boobies? It's probably more like "How to get dog shit out of shag carpet".

I do miss the feature Google used to have where you could watch a stream of searches from people. I remember there was some pretty incredible search strings on a regular basis.
posted by loquacious at 11:56 PM on May 17, 2011


Option 1: this is real, and someone is having their privacy invaded and published to the world by their own child.
Option 2: this is fake, and the joke is essentially "Old people are fucking morons! LOL"
Option 3: this is fake, and the joke is "People are fucking jerks who will laugh at Options 1 and 2! LOL"
Option 4: this is Skynet trying to distract us while it reprograms our nukes.

There is no option in which the creator of this Twitter account is not either a colossal asshole and/or an evil AI trying to kill us.
posted by Riki tiki at 11:59 PM on May 17, 2011 [12 favorites]


loquacious: "I do miss the feature Google used to have where you could watch a stream of searches from people."

As of a year ago or so they still had LCD screens displaying this in the lobbies of their offices. I've seen some misspellings of "Anna Kournikova" that I can't unsee.
posted by Riki tiki at 12:02 AM on May 18, 2011


C'mon, if someone like (Metafilter's own) Lore had done something like this, we'd all be snickering. "Old people vs. technology" is not an out-of-bounds subject for satire, in my opinion.

(who here didn't at lest chuckle at "Diane Sawyer swimsuit pictures"?)
posted by ShutterBun at 12:16 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is no option in which the creator of this Twitter account is not either a colossal asshole and/or an evil AI trying to kill us.

Wait, wouldn't option 3 not make him an asshole? Maybe he's turning the mirror on an increasingly desensitized and warped civilization. If this were a movie, the climax would have this guy addressing mankind on TVs, computers, and radios all around the world, wagging his finger at everyone for being fucking jerks. And then, realizing the error of their cruel ways, they would all would pledge to contribute to a more loving and compassionate society.

Uh, and then Congress would go back in session, and... Never mind.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:24 AM on May 18, 2011


Yeah. I'm guessing if Lore did it, though, it wouldn't look so plainly like a weak tweak of shit my dad says. Somewhere in the corner of a whiteboard in this guy's office, there's a little note reminding him to keep his eyes on the prize:

BOOK DEAL.
posted by Vetinari at 12:26 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


And another note saying: NETWORK TV DEAL. Although that might be crossed out now.

But if production started next year, you know who would be 81 then? That's right. Leonard Nimoy.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:39 AM on May 18, 2011


I'm curious: Let's say this is book-deal bait, like "stuff white people like" or "shit my dad says." How much actual money would fall out of said book deal? It can't be all that lucrative, can it?
posted by maxwelton at 12:51 AM on May 18, 2011


face book on Shirley Tarnow la porte high school class of 1948

Yeah, it's probably fake. Even if it is fake, some of it was moderately funny. This line just made me sad, though.
posted by mstokes650 at 12:52 AM on May 18, 2011


Rolling On The Floor Laughing And I Can't Get Up
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:56 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Over here they're paying lots of money because old people can't handle the concept of a digital set top box. I can fully believe people getting Twitter and Google confused.

I do kinda use social media like a search engine, since I'd rather ask my 'friends' for things.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:00 AM on May 18, 2011


the joke is that his father is senile enough to . . .

Senility is not a joke.
posted by Neiltupper at 1:13 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Of course it's fake. Everyone on reddit thought it was fake too.

Bleh. SLYT > SLOE > SL-blog-to-book-deal > SLOne-joke-over-and-over-on-a-twitter-feed.
posted by delmoi at 1:15 AM on May 18, 2011


Soft boiled grapes

That's wicked whacked.

And there's no way this isn't a joke.
posted by Skygazer at 1:17 AM on May 18, 2011


Reason #n+n why this is a fake: No-one in their right mind would intentionally create a situation which might expose their parents' porn search terms.
posted by No-sword at 1:22 AM on May 18, 2011


Yeah, I strongly suspect it's fake, but having been called to my parents house to get rid of porn pop-ups ("WE HAVEN'T BEEN SEARCHING FOR ANYTHING LIKE THAT, WE DON'T KNOW WHY WE GET THESE NAKED WOMEN ALL THE TIME, CAN YOU STOP OUR COMPUTER DOING THIS?!?!), nothing would surprise me.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 1:42 AM on May 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


LOL Old people!
posted by Obscure Reference at 2:06 AM on May 18, 2011


Senility is not a joke

With all due sensitivity, I don't think we're really talking about *actual* senility or dementia here. More like "old people being overwhelmed & out of their element with the new technology."

Frankly, I'd be amazed if a (genuinely) senile octogenarian would even understand the concept of a search engine, much less attempt to use one.

But even if we go full-on "worst case scenario" here: i.e. the 85 year old is senile, and he actually thinks he's using a search engine, and his son is encouraging us to laugh at it. Before we start saying "Christ, what an asshole," let's maybe consider the therapeutic value this might provide to the son.

I had a close friend who single-handedly took care of his aging grandparents, who were losing handfuls of marbles every day. He loved them dearly, enough to give him the strength to do the things one must do when caring for elderly people who can't care for themselves. The only thing keeping him sane was that he'd occasionally record their conversations and have me listen to them with him, as if it were some kind of comedy radio show. Was it exploitive? Probab--- yes. Did it hurt anyone? No. Was there a net benefit? In my opinion, yes. If nothing else, it gave him some release from the burden, and the strength to go on, often to super-hero levels of patience.

I doubt that's the case here, but again this is an hypothetical "what if it's all true?" scenario.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:21 AM on May 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


I can fully believe people getting Twitter and Google confused.

Technology can be confusing. Also on Twitter (and not fake):

"Hello Facebook. Yes, this is actually Lindsay. Welcome to my Facebook page!"
posted by iviken at 2:23 AM on May 18, 2011


The only thing keeping him sane was that he'd occasionally record their conversations and have me listen to them with him, as if it were some kind of comedy radio show. Was it exploitive? Probab--- yes.

Torrent?
posted by orthogonality at 2:29 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Senility has been a rich source of humour in my experience. One example that comes to mind...
posted by evil_esto at 2:45 AM on May 18, 2011


Damn, I wanted to the be first one here to say that, if this is real, the "kid" is an asshole. But you good people beat me to it.

But, that said, let me add, if it is fake, he's still an asshole.
posted by tomswift at 2:59 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's obviously not real, but it might be worth reading just to see how far an incredibly thin joke can be stretched (my guess -- not very).
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:34 AM on May 18, 2011


It is, however, ironic that we're discussing this. I've been convinced for years that someone has purchased a number of accounts and told the patients at a psychiatric hospital that the comment field on Metafilter is where they should:

1. Post dinner requests (in the form of recipes)
2. Share thoughts on politics
3. find out how to hide a dead body
4. post pictures of imaginary cats
5. get relationship advice
6. determine if the food being served is OK to eat
posted by tomswift at 3:50 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


How long until someone starts treating MeFi as a search engine?
posted by armage at 3:58 AM on May 18, 2011


chubby cheerleader chihuahua chewbacca cheddar cheese
posted by pracowity at 4:09 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


chubby cheerleader chihuahua chewbacca cheddar cheese -cortex
posted by pracowity at 4:09 AM on May 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


My Mom is 74. Her search strings are like this:

"Where can I go on the internet to buy heirloom roses and mexican food recipies?"

She's not senile. She asks a question the way she's always asked questions.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:50 AM on May 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


HURF DURF OLD PEOPLE AMIRITE

thank goodness I will never get old
posted by unSane at 4:52 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


twitter account old dad search prank is it real
posted by aaronbeekay at 5:02 AM on May 18, 2011


Shit.
posted by aaronbeekay at 5:03 AM on May 18, 2011


I think your mom is charming, double block, and I bet her search results are awesome!
posted by iamkimiam at 5:05 AM on May 18, 2011


Make fun of your elders for those blogs, books and sitcom deals, kids! Fuck 'em, they're probably tea partiers, anyway!
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:25 AM on May 18, 2011


Yeah, it's not like you're ever going to get old or anything.

Granted, when you do get to be 81, you'll probably be eating dog food, because Social Security sure as heck isn't going to be bailing your ass out...
posted by crunchland at 5:29 AM on May 18, 2011


MeFiKillJoys
posted by smackfu at 5:38 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Clearly fake. Who the hell searches for "Mine Kamf"? You either don't know what it is at all, or you know exactly what it is.

Maybe he wanted to read it.
posted by limeonaire at 5:58 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


My fake twitter accounts are funnier.
posted by Eideteker at 6:10 AM on May 18, 2011


"Diane Sawyer swimsuit pictures"

You're forgetting that Diane Sawyer first came to prominence as an "America's Junior Miss" beauty queen in the early 1960s. A swimsuit picture is not totally beyond the realm of possibility.
posted by briank at 6:23 AM on May 18, 2011


oldmansearch Norman N.
estate attorney revise will remove son
posted by de void at 6:32 AM on May 18, 2011


Oh, this is cruel - or at least it would be if it was real. When I think of some of the odd searches I do (oh, be quiet at the back) the potential for embarrassment would be far higher than seems to have occurred here.
posted by Decani at 6:32 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The way I know this isn't real is that when computer illiterate people (of ANY age) don't get the results they want (or in this case, any), they'd start talking to it in complete sentences, like

"lenscrafters"
"Lenscrafters"
"Lens Crafters"
"Where is the local Lenscrafters?"
"Please Tell me where the local Lenscrafters is"
"Hello you stupid machine I need my damn eye exam so tell me where the Lenscrafters is"
"Hour Eyes"
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:42 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Of course it's fake. Just as real life doesn't naturally arrange itself into three-act structure with a thematically appropriate happy ending, real people don't naturally arrange themselves into book deals.
posted by Naberius at 6:47 AM on May 18, 2011


I fully believe that an 81-year-old could've been convinced that Twitter was a search engine, but there's no way the charade would have lasted past the first search, considering Twitter doesn't return results.
posted by Xany at 7:15 AM on May 18, 2011


iviken: "Hello Facebook. Yes, this is actually Lindsay. Welcome to my Facebook page!"

This would just mean she has her facebook & twitter accounts linked and twitter is set to mirror her facebook status updates.
posted by anazgnos at 7:20 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


On some level, I guess I feel a sense of shame on behalf of a person out there trying to learn how to use this new, foreign technology to connect with others, while his own child is taking advantage of his naivety to try to make us laugh at his dad.

This reminds me of when you have a newborn, and those people who are all "you know, you can tell this kid whatever you want. you can make him believe anything."

They don't quite grok that you don't want to ruin your child's life just for lulz.

But yeah, fake. It's too mean otherwise.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:31 AM on May 18, 2011


It's better than Twittering a teens searches:

Porn
nakkid porn
porn sex
awsom porn
Hiphop porn
sexy porn
fuck porn
Stuck porn
Best porn
lesbo porn
Computer not wroking
Virus
Virus remove
how to hid history
posted by happyroach at 7:36 AM on May 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


Fake or not (and I think it's fake), "Diane Sawyer swimsuit pictures" is vaguely funny, but "erase or forget a memory" is just cruel.
posted by desjardins at 7:40 AM on May 18, 2011


"I dug through my dad's search history, but rather than admit to being an asshole who does things like that, I'm going to make up this bullshit Twitter story lulz."
posted by Brocktoon at 7:40 AM on May 18, 2011


The thing is, I actually do use Twitter as a sort of "search engine" sometimes. I put in my questions and it gives me answers. Sure, there are actual human beings involved on the other end, but I've never met most of them.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:50 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


AskMetafilter: Where can I go on the internet to buy heirloom roses and mexican food recipies?
posted by nzero at 8:43 AM on May 18, 2011


I'm in the "fake but mean" camp.

But I also use Twitter as a search engine on occasion. Like when I wanted to know the score on the Bruins game last night. The regionalized trending topics are usually hit or miss but I like to think it's shorthand for breaking news/zeitgeist.

How long until someone starts treating MeFi as a search engine?

You mean you don't use AskMe that way? When MeFi had that hiccup back in January for like an hour or something, I admit I got twitchy. And I was only searching for: mechanical kitchen scale, mind mapping freeware, what to do with leftover bananas/pears/milk, dry erase decals. (I had, ha, twittered about it.)
posted by zix at 8:44 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well Twitter is a meta-search-engine, but so is delicious, youtube, flickr, etc.

This is clearly a joke, but a funny concept and a great writing exercise.
posted by spock at 9:29 AM on May 18, 2011


Uncomfortable.
posted by WPW at 9:33 AM on May 18, 2011


Salesman on phone: "This package includes cable, telephone and internet for only...."
86 year old I know: "what's internet?"

at least the guy in this story, if it is even true, is actually on the series of tubes known as the internets
posted by caddis at 9:54 AM on May 18, 2011


I used to basically do searches for seniors as a job (reference desk of a public library). What kind of shocked me after a few years of this is the many occasions where typing in a full question (such as double block and bleed mentioned) actually gets better search results than just typing in the relevant search terms. It shouldn't be but it is.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:25 AM on May 18, 2011


It shouldn't be but it is.

Wutt?
posted by spock at 10:30 AM on May 18, 2011


> I've been using twitter for years and I still can't easily follow the rat's nest of replies and retweets
> that constitute a "conversation" on twitter.

If you could, is that really what anyone wants to devote their mind to? Or a portion of their mind? Or a nanoparticle-sized fraction of their mind? No wonder there isn't enough smart to go around.
posted by jfuller at 11:05 AM on May 18, 2011


I only really like twitter for realtime, and I mean 5-seconds-ago realtime, stuff. Like it's fabulous for things like searching on "#southphilly" when I just heard a giant BOOM outside and I want to know what is going on outside without getting myself shot or wandering around looking for a crowd. Within seconds people will be reporting about an explosion in the neighborhood at a power station, or gunshots or something. Massively handy.
posted by 8dot3 at 11:17 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wutt?

...typing in a full question actually gets better search results than just typing in the relevant search terms.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:39 AM on May 18, 2011


8dot3, that's exactly what I'm using it for. I have a couple of saved searches for things like "lincoln tunnel", "penn station" and "lirr" that I check whenever traffic is crawling or the trains aren't moving. Seriously handy. But actually "following" people? I don't have the time for that.
posted by monospace at 11:39 AM on May 18, 2011


Sadly, not much.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:50 PM on May 18, 2011


Great.. now "diane sawyer swimsuit pictures" is in my search... "stream," is it?
posted by herbplarfegan at 1:12 PM on May 18, 2011


"erase or forget a memory" is just cruel

Unless it's someone else's memory he wants to erase, then it's just creepy.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:13 PM on May 18, 2011


This was basically my dad's search history when I accidentally looked at it on their computer once. I try much harder not to find it now.
posted by empath at 1:15 PM on May 18, 2011


Now I strangely want an app that posts all my Google searches to an anonymous Twitter account to keep track of my brain on a daily basis. Then again:
cat and girl zombie joseph buoys
goteam youtube milk
enterprise cloud computing competitors
prescription monocle
set design summer camp
weird austin restaurant
gilliam brazil porn version
startup funding sources

This would just turn into another mock the hipster thing, wouldn't it?
posted by Gucky at 1:53 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh man, I was housesitting for a lovely older couple once. She was the type who would put on an apron and bake pies. They gave me the password to their computer - none of us knew how to set up a guest account at that time - and I used it to check my email etc. One day I looked in the browser history to find some site I'd been to the previous day, and ... holy shit. I was 24 years old and I didn't even know that kind of stuff existed or why people would be into it.
posted by desjardins at 1:59 PM on May 18, 2011


A while back, a friend and I were trying to remember the name of this painter, and had a good laugh about my resulting google search history: "fat child paintings" "fat child painter" "fat woman painter" "naked fat woman painter" ...etc.
posted by phunniemee at 2:21 PM on May 18, 2011


Also fake because none of the searches are URLs.

Many (most?) non-savvy internet go to Google or Yahoo, type in the URL they want to go to, and then click on the link which is provided.

Like if they want to visit WebMD.com they will go to Google, type in "webmd.com" and then click on the first result, which (hopefully) leads to the WebMD.com website.

Many of them will even start by typing "yahoo.com" or "google.com" into the address bar in order to get there. I have seen people do this.

It completely breaks my mind. I have yet to come up with a coherent understanding of what is happening here. I've tossed this phenomenon in the "Digital Divide be whack, yo" bucket and given up.
posted by ErikaB at 2:44 PM on May 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


The poor old man would be wondering why is the internet so crap and only providing answers of 160 odd characters long. You'd have to wonder what his actual search results are if searching within Tweets would be really.
posted by Merlin The Happy Pig at 3:17 PM on May 18, 2011


Many (most?) non-savvy internet go to Google or Yahoo, type in the URL they want to go to, and then click on the link which is provided.

This is 100% true. I've spent man-weeks trying to get people to find the address bar on their browser so that they could enter a URL.

I wonder how much of Google's dominance comes from the fact that so many people are convinced that it's the only way to get to a website.
posted by ShutterBun at 4:04 PM on May 18, 2011


"hitman son senior discount"
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 9:11 PM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


gilliam brazil porn version

wait what?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:50 PM on May 18, 2011


is metafilter a search engine
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:13 PM on May 18, 2011


annie community slow motion run
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:14 PM on May 18, 2011


josh millard middle school prom king
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:16 PM on May 18, 2011


annie community slow motion run

"Are you saying 600,000 people read about what I say on Twitter? We gotta cash in on that. How about 'Old White Man Says' the TV show?"

Group mumbles collective negative response. Troy mumbles "Who would watch that?"
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:49 AM on May 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm assuming this is a joke. And it is in poor taste.
And inevitably generates lots of comments.

Here my tuppence worth on computers and the aged.

My brother and I, in 1993, bought a computer for our Dad who was then 75. He'd been in advertising all his life and had retired before any of the agencies he worked for acquired the technology.
He was a stalwart of the Mad Men epoque,(a show which I hated) though in hot-metal London and among other skills he could accurately sketch in pencil a piece of copy in the correct point size and typeface on his layout pad.
He was overjoyed with his birthday present and, slowly I admit, taught himself to use Pagemaker 3 for his many freelance assignments. Though he never mastered style sheets and violently disagreed with some of the terminology used in the Adobe documentation. He said that computers took the navvying (hard back-breaking work) out of making ads.

3 years later he upgraded from the 486 pc and got an internet connection with the aid of the long-suffering computer shop in the village. Then he really came into his own. Setting himself up as a digital patriarch maintaining the communication lines in our distended family (England, Sweden, Australia, USA, Belgium and Spain) But he would religiously print out all Eudora e-mails and collect them in a folder. He took part in Pagemaker forums and often came to bed suspiciously late said his wife, playing with his toy.
He died a few years ago, before the advent of social media. He would have loved making fun of those. I miss him terribly.
posted by jan murray at 1:29 AM on May 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


jan murray, your story reminds me of my grandfather. He was a mechanical engineer, travelling the world with his micrometers and mechanical pencils, teaching them how to mechanize production. In the 80's, he was "asked" to retire early, because it was cheaper to pay a pension than it was to teach an old dog new computer tricks.

And so he hated computers for the next 20 years. Finally, the family got him to try a computer out, and he has fallen in love. Of all things, with Wikipedia. The idea that knowledge was democratized literally makes him weepy. It is wonderful.
posted by gjc at 6:00 AM on May 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


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