Thursday, January 29, 2009

Staying Afloat in a Sea of Data

Are you drowning in information? Is it coming in over the gunwales of your smartphone faster than you can process it? If you're anything like me -- God help you -- you are fascinated and transfixed by the availability of data anywhere, anytime. For Christmas I received a smartphone which has instant access to the Internet, to email and to social networking apps like Twitter and Facebook -- the internet in my pocket, I call it. It's a different sort of "too much information" (TMI, as the kids refer to it.) They don't call them "Crackberrys" for nothing. I just recently returned from a trip to Washington D.C. where we led a group of teenagers and college students on the March for Life. As a part of that effort, I came up with the idea of using Twitter to push up-to-the-minute text updates to both the marchers and their parents and interested friends back at home. On the whole, it worked okay but could be improved for next year. But that was my intro to the social networking world, and from Twitter I quickly moved on to harder stuff like Facebook. In fact, just last night my wife informed me that I have a problem: I need a Twelve-Step program for info addiction. She's may be right. One of the great ideas that I see in Suderman's article is the notion of an information Sabbath, i.e., a day in which you turn off your smartphone, and withdraw from the grid, so to speak. I used to think of "going off the grid" in terms of moving out into the wilderness. Images of mountain cabins, unconnected to the phone and power grids came to mind. But maybe a new paradigm is in order -- going off the info grid, as it were. Peter Suderman wrote in The New Atlantis about drowning in a sea of data due to Web2.0 and the push of data: -- go read it, it's excellent stuff. PS: I'm still doing Mass365 -- I've just been busy with the March for Life trip (and playing with my Smartphone and Twitter.)

1 comment:

  1. PPS: totally forgot about Facebook -- a new monkey that I picked up on the streets of DC.