Life doesn’t happen in 140 characters
Life’s fast, reading isn’t
I’ll try to keep this short. This very statement is the issue at hand. The fact that you’re reading this may make you a minority. This is text that I am typing, it’s slow and demands that we delve into our scary, infinite minds. As we seemingly move from an age of limited information to one of information overload, scarcity is not a concern anymore. The problem is surplus. Which raises the question, how can we responsibly know what to consume versus overlook?
Pictures are easy to understand
Initially a very text based beast, the online web is shifting to a predominately visual phenomenon. We see this as images and video take up more and more of our internet broadband pipe. No wonder websites like Tumblr, Twitter, and Pinterest are growing in incredible popularity. They are optimized for easy, bite-sized, media consumption. For our fast paced life, text is simply just too slow. Give me the picture or the video summary because reading the article is simply not worth my time.
The “problem” is too much information
Our attention spans are shrinking and Google has become our memory’s extension. We know more about more than ever before. However, we know less about each individual topic we claim to know because we simply lack a deeper understanding of it. Even if we wanted to, it’s difficult to learn more because we’re constantly pulled in a thousand directions. Read me! Buy that! Share this! The incentives to delve deeper are just not there anymore. We’re living in an information culture shift. With the world’s knowledge at our finger tips, I don’t know if I should fight it or love it.
Is it really a problem?
Am I overreacting? Should I stop worrying and learn to love the visual web? What will happen to society as we make this shift to true information illumination? Or will it be information numbness? What will happen to our attention spans and our increasingly impatient, instant gratification culture? Will we miss out on important moments because we simply can’t take a second to look around? I just can’t believe life can happen in 140 characters.
*Note that I had to create a visual in order to promote this piece online. Without it, I fear no one would read it. I’d also like to thank my friend Mariana for the initial base photo.