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What Are You Searching For?

By Trish Olson,  Interim Associate Dean

Google: Trending Searches 2014
See all the top charts here.
This is the time of year when the "lists" for 2014 come out. I was intrigued by Google’s most searched words of 2014. The most frequent searches reflect hope, fear, compassion, and fun. They also reflect our role as global citizens.

Google also breaks down searches by category into sub-lists such as people, actors, actresses, beauty, celebrity pregnancies, diets, donations, losses, major league baseball, and selfies. What fascinated me about these sub-lists is the obsession with "famous people," especially actors and athletes. Are we simply curious about their lives? Or do we strive to be more like them? How does knowing more about famous people change our behavior or improve our personal or professional lives?

As we approach a new year, I challenge you to review and reflect on your own most frequent search queries for 2014. Maybe you keep an “internal log” of your searches in your head. If you need help, though, you can look up your most recent Google searches on this web page site:

You may not have web history turned on for your U of M account (which is probably a good thing), but you may have it “engaged” on your home computer or personal Google accounts. Once you have accessed your search history, ask yourself what your queries say about you and your work in 2014. Chances are your searches reflect research for projects you’re working on and on topics covered in your classes or workshops. That’s all good, but were your searches targeted to what you planned to accomplish in 2014? Or did you get off track from time to time?

As I reflect on my own queries in 2014, I am thinking how I can keep my searches in 2015 focused on what I plan to accomplish in next year’s plan of work. More important, how will I move from searching into action? It’s so tempting to keep searching, searching, searching. . .

I wish you happy holidays and all the best as we embark on a new year. I hope you find what you are searching for — at work and at home — in 2015!

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