Need Information Anonymous?

squirrel2.jpgDo you ever feel like you just have to keep up with all of the information out there… and are drowning? I feel like that today after spending about 2 hours on things that were not a priority yet were calling to me.
The first step to admitting information addiction is to admit that you have a problem. Here are the first 2 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Steps a la 2.0!

1. We admitted we were powerless over the amount of information—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

So, what is that power? How does one tame the beast in us that feels like we must be connected to a hundred zillion other folks using every possible tool out there – that we can’t miss one blog post, article, tweet, wiki update, ning contact, e-mail, IM, Skype call, UStream broadcast, slideshow, video…. for fear of being “left behind”… Alone. Uninformed. Ignorant. Does your RSS reader make you feel ashamed for not giving it the attention it deserves? Can you not look it in the eye and say “I love you.”?

Where is the time for deep reflection, peace, quiet,… Has your insatiable “need” for connectivity and information robbed you of something quite valuable? Are you unable or unwilling to unplug when necessary? Or, if you do unplug, do you feel the beast gnawing at you?

Do you dare silence the twittering birds? Or, is the tradeoff worth it. Has the world changed in such a way that we are required now to live this way?

Please share either your “Power” or your need to find that “Power”. Perhaps we can help each other here.

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2 Comments on “Need Information Anonymous?”

  1. Wesley Fryer Says:

    On a non-theological level, I think a big part of my answer to this dilemma is the idea and ideals of “digital discipline” which I’ve been ruminating on now for several years. We have to have the self-discipline to turn OFF the screen and focus on offline activities as well as priorities. The potential to be distracted today on screens (televisions, computer screens, and game screens) is certainly greater than ever. This is not just true for young people, it is true for everyone who is “connected.” The screens by which we can be distracted now extend to the cell phone.

    I think your comparison to AA is an appropriate one for many reasons. I think we all DO need to acknowledge openly that we simply can’t keep up with information. Our school board members and legislative leaders need to do this as well. The implications of this should be BIG: If we can’t keep up now, then what are we going to do? How are we going to help our students, teachers, and everyone else swim rather than drown in the deluge of information which continues to flow all around us?

  2. Stephen Ransom Says:

    Wes, that is the question, isn’t it. I have been reading and blogging about Neil Postman’s book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, and in it he does a nice job writing about the evolution of information delivery. We are living in a time when we no longer have to wait for information. And, with RSS and other technologies, it actually comes to us. We don’t even have to seek it out. This is an incredible shift from a time where newspapers were in their infancy in this country. The telegraph incredibly sped up information delivery. Now, it is so easy to be caught up in trying to keep up with everthing within our scope of interest… and it is generated and accessible 24/7. How is this information shift going to impact our culture down the road? We need to learn the skills of navigating the data smog and quickly find and pay attention to the information that is pertinent when we need it. But, like smog, it has a way of impacting us whether we like it or not. Is there an analogy here for the gas mask or air filter?


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