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Are You Boring? You Might Be Suffering From Information Overload Syndrome!

By Kate Landsdorf
On March 8, 2013

  • Raymond Felton showing off his NY Knicks Jersey. Photo from Village Voice
Are you taking advantage of all technology has to offer  to make choices?
  You can exchange emails, shop at a store that's a couple of miles away, chat with an old classmate, find a dating prospect, play a game, browse interests, research for a paper, plan a vacation, and pick out a restaurant all in your pajamas before leaving the house today, if your search results can even find a reason for you to. How many hours have you lost mindlessly surfing the internet? Are you paying attention right now?
 I mean this is already five lines in. Did you open a new tab already? According to wikipedia, information overload refers to the difficulty a person can have understanding an issue and making decisions that can be caused by the presence of too much information.
Yochai Benkler, author of The Wealth of Networks, discusses how social production transforms markets and freedom. He believes that cheap communication plus the internet equal a renewed power and voice to the people which weakens the power of mass media. Yochai's a smart man and all but this is sort of a blanket thought.
There is a darker, more complex side to the story.
How many friends would you say you've talked to in person or on the phone in the past 6 months? And how many friends do you have on Facebook? We have the option of being friends with an increasing number of people everyday, people we never have to emotionally invest or receive in. We can find user generated information on Wikipedia, start or join an interest group on Meetup, and find our soul mate through a quiz on a dating site. Has destiny and free will been enhanced by our wealth of networks; or is the "wealth" of networks kind of like the state of our economy?
Participating in the digital revolution has a rapidly growing number of options every single day. We are fortunate. So are you more productive and happy than you have been in the past? On youtube,Xerox pikes fun at this very issue.
When was  the last time you lied on the grass, stared up at the sky and watched the clouds pass by? When's the last time you seized the day? Many people have their phones glued to them and rely on their computers to make (or not make) every decision (or movement) about their lives. Are we better off without the need for trial & error and deep thought or are we becoming boring, vicariously living through the computer screen? Are you smelling the roses or just googling them?
Hold on, I got a text...
I'm sorry, what were we talking about?

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