“I don’t know, look it up online.”
This is my standard response to questions I’m asked that I don’t know the answers to. Want to learn how to fly a kite? eHow.com has your answer. Don’t know what to eat for lunch? Here are a bevy of search hits that should help figure out your meal.
Artist Joel Holmberg searches for these answers and more in Legendary Account, on display at the New Museum’s latest exhibit, “Free.” The collection, curated by Lauren Cornell, showcases the work 23 artists who depict the freedoms and constraints that the Internet has created with “free culture, and its advocacy for open sharing,” in today’s society through video, installation, sculpture, photography, sound and the Web itself.
Through Legendary Account, the Brooklyn-based artist poses questions that aren’t easily answerable through her Yahoo! account. Answers range in tone from utterly confused to DOH! reactions. “How long does post-coital last?” generated only two responses, including “till the next incidence of coital? Source(s): common sense.” Another question, “Would Jesus have %100 Best Answer if he where on Yahoo! Answers?” yielded 30 responses, some of which don’t make any sense, like this one: “No, the trolls would eat him alive. If there were any bits left, the Catholics would finish him off. He’s so tasty, you see.”
What makes people ask questions on Yahoo! Answers instead of searching for it on Google? Is it easier to get direct answers from people as opposed to trolling search results all day? Are user answers “better” than random search results simply based on the words entered in the search bar? Should I search this question on Yahoo! Answers to see what comes up?
I personally don’t use this search tool, although I do click on Yahoo! Answer links that come up after doing a Google search. And I don’t know of anyone who uses this instead of Google. But it’s definitely another option worth checking out. The notion that people willingly contribute to this site — posing questions, answering them, and rating the best answers — shows how today’s world has become this open-networked conglomeration of ideas and information that anyone and everyone can pull from and contribute to.
So, dear reader, here is your mission. Visit Yahoo! Answers and ask a question — make it existential, ridiculous, or simply absurd. Post the links to your questions below and hopefully we’ll all learn something new. But stay away from these 50 questions…they’ve already been answered.