Do you ever feel there is never enough time to know all the stuff we all of a sudden need to know? This is coming from a person whose job it was for decades to compile information in a radio newsroom. Yet even I am overwhelmed these days. Between Twitter and Breaking News and Facebook and emails, it’s too much. It makes me long for the day when there would be a “This Just In” crawl at the bottom of your tv screen.
They have coined a phrase for this. It’s called Infomania and it’s rewiring our brains. We ingest so much information so fast that we understand little. Our comprehension is shot to s*** because we are flicking and clicking constantly.
And there’s the compulsion to keep on top of everything. It’s impossible. Forget about trying to keep up with the 400 plus scripted shows available on tv, cable or streaming; multiply that by gazillions when you try to keep track of what’s trending and following links and the latest tiny wrinkle in what is basically a story that will have no impact on our lives.
A couple of things that worry me: 1. We are so inundated we can no longer differentiate between what’s important and what is ultimately trivial. 2. We are so busy flicking and clicking we don’t take the time to truly understand a story or an issue and that’s why a Donald Trump or anyone who talks in soundbites can dominate the conversation while saying nothing substantial. 3. We are getting a skewed version of reality because we know about every shooting, every natural disaster, every terror threat as it happens. There isn’t time to catch our collective breath and realize good stuff like a sunny day, or a school fair, or a good haircut never makes the news. The anomalies, the weird, the terrifying dominate which contribute to a global malaise. I wonder if that’s part of what is driving the stock markets and economies lower?
I am not in favour of ignorance. I love the idea of access to information. But instant access without comprehension isn’t doing anyone any favours. Maybe we could agree to all back away from our phones and our tablets and our computers for a day or two? Make it a global holiday. Take a breath. Take a walk. Take a minute. Clear our heads before wading back in. It couldn’t hurt, could it?
And kudos to this Saskatchewan paper for printing the truth on its front page—not much is going on at the moment. I would take a year’s subscription.