Fitting in with Google Demographics

In a world where there are no secrets anymore and the NSA listens in on all our communications, it’s reassuring to know that “they” still don’t have a total grasp on their subjects. Recently, Google demographic experts proclaimed that I am approximately 20 years older than my biological age, which makes me chuckle. Does this reflect well upon me or poorly? Am I wise beyond my years or a fussbudget whose Internet browsing tastes and deficit of social media knowledge skew towards the horse n buggy crowd? Google’s probably not all wrong in their assessment; I think I’ve always related to an older group—maybe that’s because I’ve never quite fit in with my chronological peers or I simply have tastes and preferences that slot me into another category. Who knows why they made this determination? Google has teams of experts pouring over the trail left behind by my electronic habits. They must have their reasons, right?


In a way, learning that I come across as a generation older than I am has provided me with a certain amount of comfort. Those teenage years where “everyone” liked to hang out in groups at the mall or were mortified to be seen with their parents—that wasn’t me. I was this strange creature who liked her parents’ company, listened to classical music, and found the mall scene to be vaguely disturbing as a teenage rite of passage. As the years progressed, I still seemed to steer clear of the normal activities for my peer group—no going to night clubs or pulling all nighters, no group house rentals for spring or summer vacations, no concert t-shirts of indie bands. None of the ordinary signs that I was in lock step with my peers. I didn’t do this on purpose, as some sort of rebellion, it was just who I was. Often times, though, it left me feeling somewhat lonely because I just didn’t fit in. I looked at all my peers, doing the things they were “supposed” to be doing, having fun, hanging out, you name it–and then, there was me.


When have you felt like you didn’t fit in with your natural group?


Of course, everyone has experiences of outsider status. The nerdy kid, the fatty, the one whose last name is hard to pronounce, the one who never gets the in-jokes, the kid who talks too much or tries too hard. No matter who we are, what our story is, whether the captain of the team or sometimes-member of the Energy Club, we all know what it’s like to feel lonely.


Fortunately, as we grow and mature, we develop coping skills and a sense of humor to get through such moments. We learn to appreciate solitude or find ways to manage outsized expectations about how much we will enjoy certain social interactions. We find ways to cobble together a network of people who resonate with our little quirks. But, what happens when some of these friendships change such that Google would put the participants in different demographic groups? What do we do when what fit us before has been outgrown?


Shifting interests and priorities happen to all of us, of course. We all know stories of spouses or friends who grow apart, or the sad instances where they may stay together, technically, but the isolation is as lonely as it can be for a shut-in. Finding a place in life where we feel we “belong” is an interesting challenge because it is so universal. For some folks, it’s something to be feared and avoided at all costs, but re-booters come prepared. We know this is a key part of our life’s evolution and we believe in the possibility that we can create for ourselves a reality where we do fit—no matter how deviant from Google’s models we may be. They don’t know everything at Google, no matter what they say. A re-booter has sufficient faith in him or herself to recognize that whenever a so-called expert decrees, “this is the norm,” and we don’t fit it, they haven’t taken in enough data points to account for us and our re-booting brethren. Hey, when you think about it like this, maybe we’re not so alone, after all…


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