Thursday, 18 November 2010

Three questions about being “in the know”

(Talking about the individual here – not businesses/organizations.)

When was the last time you were online - not counting right now? How much time do you spend online everyday? If your job requires it, totally understood. If it doesn’t, how much time would you say you dedicate to surfing or communicating or researching? My guess is, a heck of a lot. (Not very scientific but, you get it.)

Imagine a day away from any Internet connection. You might still have your laptop because, like me, you just have to keep writing, having taken up the #NaNoWriMo challenge. But, I’m talking about no net! Now, what would you do on that day? (Without, you know, tearing out your hair or biting your nails the whole time.) How would you spend your day? Could you possibly enjoy it - especially if you were not on vacation?

Between the Internet and the innumerable media houses – including electronic and print – there is the foreboding feeling that I have to know everything! “They” try to convince me that I simply must know what is happening in every country in every field with every head of state, celebrity and their children and friends and followers!!! And if I don’t know, then, to the rest of those who are riding this train, I am totally off track. "They" wouldn’t let me near an “intelligent” conversation.

But, like, seriously? All those sites that we surf and channels we skip and pages we flip through, what if we should consciously take in everything being thrown at us?! Jeesh! My heads feels heavy just thinking about it.

So, no, I don’t need to know everything. Certainly not that the couple showers together twice a day. No, wait! Let's see just how much info our Agenda-Setting media, who won't be bested by any ol' Tom, Dick or Harry with a cellphone, will be pushing down our throats about the royal-wedding-to-be! Sick of it yet? I think the sensationalism of "commoner weds royalty" has been downright diluted because, well, we've been through the Charles&Camilla saga. No lesson learnt from the hounding of Lady Di? What gives? And that was a time when information sharing, compared to today's real-time, was still in the Stone Age. No matter how glamorous some make it sound; no matter how sensational; no matter how cute; no matter no matter no matter. I do not necessarily need to know. I do not want to be consumed by it all and lose myself in the process. So, I choose. And I live with the consequences of those choices.

And what of those things that I do need to know. (Not even the “I’d like to know.” We’ve skipped past that. For some semblance of guidance on it, see above and apply as required.) But those things I need to know? How bad is the world going to turn out if I don’t get the news the very second it falls? I mean, really, can’t they wait? Well, in truth, some of them really can’t but, a good deal of them sure can! And that right there is a part of the issue. It has got that much more difficult, with the advent of info at the touch of so many buttons on so many instruments, to determine, beforehand, what is urgent and what isn’t. Not until you retrieve the info you know you needed, and thought you needed now, do you realise that, y’know? It could have waited.

What am I missing while spending an inordinate and egregious amount of time online – in any shape, size or form? Life. Well, a chunk of it, anyway. Won’t know how much until later on, I can just feel it. Better shape up now, then. I did say “inordinate and egregious.” Because being online and in the hub of information hubs has become a part of the way we live. So, there’s no getting away from that. We’ve created this monster and now have been conditioned to feed it in order for us to sort of live without the stress we would not have had in the first place, had we not gone (this far) down this road. (And we will be going farther).

Here’s to those of us who maintain solid, healthy, beautiful offline relationships with people that we can hug and kiss and smile with and sing to every so often. Peace, beauty, happiness and love to you!


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