Project: The Progeria Research Foundation via the GoodSearch search engine
Actual Time Taken: About an hour, over the course week
It all stared with a certain viral video.
(Don’t it always)
It was of a little girl dancing to “Ice Ice Baby.” She had curly red hair, tons of contagious energy, and all the cutest moves.
The Two Million view cutie.
And she also had an obvious difference from all the other little girls bopping around on YouTube- she was clearly affected by some sort of disease.
After a moment of research, I learned that this particular little girl is Adelia Rose, also known as “The Most Reviled Six-Year-Old on the Internet,” and that she suffers from progeria, a rare disease that prematurely ages her body.
From her Facebook page. What an awesome computer!!
There is quite a furor around her, as most internet sensations seem to go (Ice Bucket Challenge anyone?), ranging from internet bullying to widespread praise. But what interested me this week for my hour of volunteering was what she directly asked us to do on her Facebook page.
Apparently there is a way to volunteer while you search the web. Much along the lines of the “click here to donate” websites that garner money for charity through clicks on sponsored websites, GoodSearch is a search engine that uses Yahoo Search ad revenue to give one penny per search to a charity of your choice. Apparently it’s a pretty effective system, with over 50% of the revenue actually going to the chosen charities.
Adelia Rose’s plea was for each of us to choose the Progeria Research Foundation as our charity. So I did just that, and decided that my hour this week would be spent searching as much as I could through GoodSearch.
But a small warning in italics under the search bar gave me some pause.
It reads “Please use this site honestly. Fraudulent searches will result in a charity being de-listed.”
Now. What exactly is a fraudulent search? One of my friends suggested typing out one letter of the alphabet and hitting search and repeating that for the entire alphabet. While this does seem like ‘cheating‘ in a way, what if I really did want to learn about each letter, one by one? Who is watching these searches and deeming what is a legitimate search and what isn’t?
So instead of trying to scam a system designed for good, I just made sure to use the search engine all week. Every time I wrote a blog that required any kind of research, any time I needed to settle an argument over the who the lead singer of an obscure 80’s band was with my boyfriend, any time I needed to search for myself on the interwebs for fun, I tried to use GoodSearch only.
(What’s funny about that is that I almost typed the phrase “Google myself,” which is quite ubiquitous and accepted, but pays direct homage to the search engine that I was NOT using on purpose… interesting.)
At the end of the of the week, I had garnered a whopping .32….
I had definitely spent at least an hour searching various searches, even if it wasn’t completely pertinent to my life, just to reach my hour of volunteering. (I now know a lot more about 80’s hair bands than I ever did before….) But I feel a little let down. I know I could have made a bigger difference by just going to the Progeria Research Foundation website and making a $50 donation, or something. But I guess that would defeat the purpose of me experiencing an hour of volunteering a week.
Clicking “Donate $50” would take under a minute, whereas an hour of intentionally rambling searches to raise pennies from the Yahoo search engine let me mull over this little girl’s short life, and what it must be like for her mother to have received that diagnosis about her newborn child. Many of my searches were about Adelia and progeria, and I guess that’s what this week’s hour was about for me. It was about learning to utilize a charitable search engine in my daily life, and let it remind me of the effect I may have, be it ever so slight, on someone whose life is considerably more difficult than my own.
In the end, I don’t think my _____ will really be the game changing donation that the Progeria Research Foundation is looking for. But in my own life experience, I can recognize the small change it has had within me.
(And no, that pun not entirely intentional, but I’ll take it.)