Thursday, April 12, 2012

turn off?

wanna to know the next big media/tech trend? 

stepping away from it. turning it off.

after having past-pontificated on this a few times, echos of this are starting to show up in the media.

the curmudgeon in me firmly believes there are too many outlets for distraction. and if you're not aware of this, you live under a rock, which in this case, is probably a good thing. 

don't get me wrong, the access to unlimited streams of information, anywhere, anytime, is a mostly positive force in the world. just as, if not more significant than the invention of fire, cars, and flight. but keep in mind, as mass adoption of any new "thing" takes hold, mass idiocracy occurs, as most of us are morons. "a person is smart, people are stupid."

remember, fire ultimately lead us warfare (and arson). cars shortened vast distances, but bad drivers make automotive-related deaths a part of everyday life. as for flight - even though planes are the true mass transit (air-buses?), don't get me started on why flying cars, while cool enough for me, Marty Macfly, and agents of SHIELD/MASK are a bad idea (see earlier point on bad drivers).

TMI (too much information) isn't necessarily going to cause a mass extinction event, but it IS making most of us dumber, because we're not mature enough to manage this flow. so maybe it's just slow, mind-numbing, thinning of the herd (mush mush). too many short pulses of information (sometimes signals, but mostly noise), keep us from...thinking.

when was the last time you read a book that taught you something. really listened to an album. wrote something that had meaning? watched a good film that made you think? had a conversation about something that mattered? drew something that took effort? came up with - and implemented - your/the next great idea? 

every evening i come home and leave my phone with my keys (where they charge at night - not in our bedroom). i don't believe in the second/third-screen viewing when i watch TV/movies. i want to immerse myself in the story, and think/talk about it later. i (try to) read every night before bed and every morning before work, despite the temptations to tune in, log on, etc. 

give it a try for a few days and see what happens. 

one of the reasons i live to travel abroad? beyond the adventure/food/cool-factor - it's a way to go off the grid. to escape the inbox, social networks, TV-queue, and mostly irrelevant texts + contacts. the allure of being surrounded by something foreign helps realize the ability to be in the moment, versus seeking distraction from the daily mundane. sadly, technology is catching up. but an often different time-zone helps. 

and yet, even all of this is not enough to combat the daily deluge of information. i spend more of my day working from my inbox and making small adjustments to existing items than actually working on something big and tangible. my best thinking/work happens when my mind is quiet. mental connections and leaps are made. ideas come together. 

maybe at some point, the masses will start to see this. maybe this realization has been with me awhile because i'm usually an (obnoxious) early adopters of all the tech/media/gadgets that connect us to the infinite amounts of information out there. i've worn/burnt out out faster.

or maybe everyone else simply knows how to manage it better (" these days!"), and i'm choosing (or trying) to stay behind.

at least it's quieter here.


  1. Have you read "The Dumbest Generation"

    If not, I don't recommend it. It's not well written, but is tangentially related to this post topic. It's subject is that people (young people) get so caught up in the constant bombardment from Facebook/Twitter/Interweblogs that they never get acculturated towards adulthood and can instead stay in an extended adolescence.

    People over 60 or so had to talk to their parents growing up because there was nothing else to do that could take up their time at home. People under 60 had access to music players, though that only took up so much time. People under 45 had quickly increasing television options on top of music players, people under 35 had video games on top of TV and music players, people under 25 had cell phones on top of video games, TV, and music, and people under 20 have The Facebook and a ton of other social networking options on top of blah blah blah.

    On one side, every generation has looked down on the next. First Rock 'N Roll was destroying the youth, then MTV was destroying the youth, then Nintendo, and now the internet. Since no generation one gives up the past "vices," at some point, the camel's back has got to break.

  2. DB - good points.

    i don't really people should ignore/get-rid-of the latest "vices" - there's a TON of positive value they bring. if anything the latest and greatest should be embraced and understood.

    the real trick is how we choose to manage all of them, and finding SOME time to be without them.


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