Living with the Flood of Information
When it comes to iPads or other devices, I’m a Johnny-come-lately to the party—some would say Neanderthal.
I only acquired an iPad mini recently when a friend bought a new Kindle Fire and was willing to part with his old Apple product at a fraction of its original price.
Were I traveling regularly as I did in the past, I might have purchased one sooner. But one of our grandsons, a computer whiz I call my “tech advisor,” told me a few years back that a pad was the ultimate frivolous purchase.
“All I use mine for is to check email and play games,” he said.
However, given the opportunity to try one for a modest amount of dinero, I decided it would be good to have a way to check email on the fly. And, jot notes without lugging around an old-fashioned paper notebook.
I was right on both counts.
Twice in recent times I’ve wound up with a half-hour wait in a doctor’s office. Not only was I able to review all my morning email, I also checked several news websites that are part of my daily work routine.
I’ve also used the iPad mini to take notes at several meetings. Not only does that come in handy, it’s much lighter than the stone-age notebook I rarely carry any more.
Yet, at the same time I’ve been warming up to the iPad, there seems to be a parallel development in the universe. Namely, an overload of “stuff” coming my way.
I can’t verify whether progress is changing our habits. In checking online, there seems to be mixed opinions on whether people feel overwhelmed by the pace of modern technology.
All I know is that lately I’ve taken to automatically deleting an increasing number of emails without even opening them to check their contents.
Or, scanning them so quickly that I barely digest what they said before sending them down a black hole.
These messages are not part of the spam that used to clog our in-boxes in the formerly crude days of the internet. Many are from publications I read or organizations of which I’m a member.
Yet, in the interest of self-preservation—and being able to finish the work that keeps this operation chugging along—I simply can’t devote much time to them.
I see one symptom of the information overload that is part of daily life as the fact that writing or editing stories no longer is a matter of digging up enough information.
Today’s challenge is ferreting through the mounds of material to figure out what to keep. And, all the while wondering if you’ve overlooked something significant.
Take, for instance, a recent research-heavy-laden assignment. A contact said he would send me some leads to help with research. I expected about a dozen; he sent a list of 300.
This reminded me of a new educational program that I’ve been trying to get up to speed on, though struggling to find the time to take the self-guided website tour.
During a recent presentation, the speaker said there were 700 videos people could watch online.
“Seven hundred?” I thought. “I’ll be lucky to find the time to watch seven.”
Oh, well. Maybe I can catch a few on my iPad mini.