Information Overload

There was a time when I watched the news every day.  I would follow every timely news story and read up on all incoming headlines.  Part of this was my need for information and my desire to be part of the “conversation”.  Another part was feeling responsible to provide information to students and informing them about the world around them.  I would try to make text to world connections as often as possible in order to keep subject matter current and relevant.

However, when I stopped teaching I still made too many trips around the current events buffet.  I watched two different news channels and kept several different news’ tickers open on my browser.  I could discuss what was happening in the country and the world with anyone at anytime.  It wasn’t a source of pride for me; I didn’t think I was any better or worse than anyone else.  It was just something I did.  It was more or less a habit.  It was all constantly on in my background.  Floating.

I won’t even go as far as saying it is a bad habit.  I will say, however, that it was too much.  Too much information.  We are constantly inundated with news and information every single day.  We demand updates and ticker updates at the bottom of our screen.  We expect new stories on our Twitter feeds and for the information to be refreshed when we demand it, not when it is available.  When a situation isn’t resolved according to our timetable, then we become impatient and assume the people involved are incompetent and don’t know what they are doing.  Our over saturated culture has become information rich but knowledge poor.

The news stories became too emotional for me.  I can’t follow the massacres in Syria as closely as I would have in the past.  The Sandusky trial would tear me apart if I followed it day by day.  There are some stories in the news — the list goes on — that I am far too sensitive to follow as attentively now.

And now I approach information like I would have approached it in the glorious olden days.  I seek it out.  It is still all available to me — the same amount, if not more, as it was before.  The only difference now is that instead of the information coming to me via so many different venues, I seek out the news I want.  The television is rarely on now.  The radio is on a kid’s channel.  I no longer have news tickers on my browsers.

I was worried I wouldn’t be as informed, and yet I am even more literate than I was before.  Whereas I before had current event ADD, I am now able to focus on events with the time and care they deserve.  I’ve shut off all the channels and can now pay attention.  No longer am I relying on catchy phrases and bumper sticker-style statements.  I can now truly digest the language.

And now I can hopefully be more adequately prepared for the “Why’s” my children ask.

C. Streetlights
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Published by C. Streetlights

I wrote and illustrated my first bestseller, "The Lovely Unicorn" in the second grade and I've been terrified of success ever since. Published by ShadowTeamsNYC and represented by Lisa Hagen Books

11 thoughts on “Information Overload”

  1. kelly says:

    So funny to here that so many others feel the same… Fairly recently I discovered how to lisen to NPR on my computer while I work… so I had it on all day, every day, and I felt my mood growing worse and worse. We don’t need to have it always in our faces just because we can, it IS to much information. So I broke that newly-formed habit and I feel much better.
    I also started turning the television off, my husband loves his sports, but other than that, it’s just awful.
    More and more, back to the simple things. Yes.

    1. Isn’t it funny how quickly bad habits form and slow it is to form good ones? Our minds crave information and so forth, but it’s like our spirits hurt when they get it. Moderation!

  2. little light says:

    20 years ago I threw the TV out, i couldn’t tell you why. Today sitting in the doctors office being slapped in the face by it, by the women gleefully telling me about the atrocities being committed against children, I was so Grateful that it was NEVER in my house as my 2 children were growing up.
    I will never care if I am uninformed, and your compassion for what interests you, makes you a rare a wonderful soul.

    1. Definitely, as I raise my kids, I prefer keeping out the world as much as possible. Let them stay young and precious for as long as possible! And thank you.

  3. Robin says:

    I totally relate. Regardless of current affairs and the latest news, simply being online can become overwhelming. Much as I love information (and connecting on twitter, facebook, etc.), I need to take breaks so I can be more present in my own life.

    1. “Being present”. I love that idea, Robin. Thank you! “Being present in my own life.”

  4. Well said. I’ve been cutting back, too. Not really by choice, life got too chaotic and my computer time got drastically cut back. I’m trying to catch back up, but I find that I don’t miss the hourly news cycle. Now it’s a quick perusal of the daily news cycle, which weeds out some of the sensationalism. It helps me not get worked up as much. I have enough going on in other areas of life!

    1. It can be so easy to get worked up in things we have no control over! Which then makes me even more upset. And it’s true, we have enough going on in other areas that we do have control over, like our families — which is much more important in my opinion.

  5. Sara Rose says:

    Agreed. In entirety.

      1. Sara Rose says:

        What are you talking about? We from entirely different walks of life and entirely different opinions agree more often than we often think we WOULD. ANYWAYS, I cut down the last few weeks of the internet, the news, etc., and it was *profoundly awesome*. I didn’t go to bed keyed up and had time to focus on things like, oh I dunno, MOVING. I am a creature who seeks out current events but I filter it a lot now. Not just because of being a parent. But also because some of it, I don’t need to be dwelling on, freaking out about, or even THINKING about. I think we could all use to mainline our brains a bit more often to things like enjoying life and not staring in horror at the news, which has frankly gotten to be a horror show. It’s a three penny opera- who can freak you out the most? Just my not humble opinion. ;P

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