Our culture is becoming always on


On the subject of information overload

I suspect part of it is the immediacy of new information, whether that information is world events or text or email. And the need/desire to keep up means that there is less time for something else. If you’re working, sleeping some, eating, take care of the kids, and doing what needs to be done around the house, there’s not that much time left for other things, whatever they are. So in that little leftover time, you can choose to watch TV, read, just listen to music, or catch up on the latest information. These days, many of us choose the latter. And for the millennial generation and those who come after, that will be the norm.

What did we do when we were in our 20s, before we got married? We spent a lot of the extra time with friends doing whatever. We may have played games but only when we weren’t with other people. Once we started working and got married/partnered, we spent less time with our friends and had more time for the other activities. Living with someone doesn’t mean you’re with them 100% of the time. Then all the other things happened and there was less and less time for the relaxing things.

And we got used to that. Besides, it was difficult to sit quietly when so much was going on around us.

I’ve been retired for a few years now. I have the time to play the games I never had time for when I was in my 40s and 50s. Sometimes I sit back and read. I’m also very curious so the availability of information is both a blessing and a curse. I can get lost in the Internet in the same way I could get lost in a library.

Now I grant you that I am not on social media. I have a Facebook account but never use it. I am not on twitter. I don’t miss it but I can see where once you’re there, you might. And there goes the time. And here comes the need to be available and the constant or near constant notifications. And it’s not always enough to simply turn them off. Part of your mind is wondering whether there’s an email you should read or a text or some other message you should answer. And once you’re attached, it’s difficult to become unattached.

Our culture is becoming always on. Someone who texts you expects an immediate answer. And email is almost the same way. If you’re always on, it’s very difficult to relax.


Categories: Articles

1 reply

  1. Good thoughts Bob!
    Time is weirdly fungible – the hours you don’t pay attention to just pour away.
    The hours still pour away when you’re doing something purposefully – whether a hobby or a chore or the enjoyment of a specific piece of media – but those tend to have something to show for it in a way frittering time on social media does not.
    (On the other hand, some time ago I decided even reading a good book or seeing a movie wasn’t always leaving enough of a footprint and so for almost two decades I’ve been recording those, games played through, etc, in an online log. Which has the unfortunate side effect of “gamifying” every thing so I get anxious if I’m reading less, or even playing fewer video games…)

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