Sweet, bitter, sugary and salty stories. Welcome to my world, past and present.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
We Live in a McINFO World
We live in a McINFO world that is dazzling and dizzying.
Ancient cultures delivered information over long distances through drum beats, smoke signals and messengers on foot or horseback.
Today we send information digitally in a matter of seconds all over the world. Time has become inconsequential. You send it…it’s there.
No more waiting for the mail to arrive, the daily newspaper on the doorstep, the weekly magazine. There was a certain pleasure in the anticipation and delight when they did finally arrive. We had to wait and delay our satisfaction and perhaps appreciate them all the more.
The pace of our lives has changed too. Keeping up is impossible. Information is fed to us moment to moment, never ending bytes of headlines, sound bites, keywords, bullet points, images and animation.
Digital fragments…quick tidbits of what’s happening in our world, thousands of messages bombarding our senses daily. We use spam filters, “unsubscribes,” and firewalls to create some barriers to the ongoing sheer deluge of data.
Are we better informed by so much of so little? Do we understand complex topics that are presented in chunks, blurbs and captions?
What’s going on? Check Twitter; find out on Facebook; open
e-mail. Text it…share it…participate in the constant churn to stay on top of the news, your friends’ lives, and your profession.
We meet on the Internet at the digital well to share our lives, but we don’t drink deeply…just sips, just a taste for busy lives on the go. Have we lost something along the way…reflection…the luxury of pondering vs. pouncing on information as soon as it appears?
The digital revolution has affected our behavior, our relationships and our sense of community. I get my daily fix whenever I want it. I consider myself someone who helped pioneer the Internet’s power to reach everyone in a start-up venture that later evolved into AOL back in the ‘80s.
I championed the Internet then and even now to my students in
e-marketing and interactive content writing college classes. But I do wonder if our ability to reach anyone, anywhere, anytime helps us understand ourselves and our world any better.
Google (today’s Oracle), Wikipedia (today’s Encyclopedia of Britannica), and YouTube (today’s home movies) have become our educators, researchers, scholars and reporters who we rely on for information. Is the information accurate? Manipulated? Fact checked? What is true and not true? We don’t know. Many of us do not check the sources for credibility…we’re in a hurry to know and move on.
Are we smarter? Do we know more? Does it help us in our daily lives? Yes and no…it’s a tradeoff…know something now, right or wrong…to satisfy our insatiable thirst for more. Is more, more or less?
In spite of that, I’m hooked, an Internet infomaniac, who still believes in its power to enlighten and disseminate information when needed, even though it is harder and harder to distinguish illusion from reality and truth from lies in a McINFO world.
Erana Leiken, principal of Tiger Marketing, is a marketing and PR consultant and freelance writer. She also teaches communication courses at the University of Phoenix and Web marketing and interactive content for the Art Institute of Phoenix.
Formerly an NBC reporter, magazine editor, and Web business writer, she is writing creative nonfiction and doing Web consulting. See www.tigermarketing.com.