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Information Overload – Do You Miss The Good Old Days?

Flickr.com/Yutaka Tsutano

I live for technology. No matter where I am or what I’m doing I always have my iPhone, a laptop, and an always-on internet connection. From the moment I wake up to the last minute before I go to sleep at night, I’m connected in some way to the internet.

I think, more often than not, you are too, and it’s all starting to become too much.

In 1970, author Alvin Toffler coined the term “information overload” to describe the difficulty a person can have dealing with too much data. Now in 2012 that term has never been more relevant.

A recent USA Today article described how the constant barrage of social media on our computers, phones, and even televisions has sent us spiraling into information overload. We are confronted by so much data on a daily basis that we’re having a hard time making good decisions based on it. It’s a real problem, and one that we created.

I’m getting to the point where I ignore Facebook and Twitter notifications because I just can’t take anymore silly pictures of cats or videos of celebrities falling down.

That made me think about something: “the good old days.”

Remember when your parents, or grandparents, would tell you about how much simpler life was in their day? Turns out they were telling the truth, we just never believed them.

You know what I miss most about my pre-digital life? Patience. We had to wait for things we wanted. The next episode of your favorite show was a week away after an amazing cliffhanger, not a ten minute digital download. Want to hear your favorite band’s new single? Had to wait to hear it on the radio with everyone else. The new album from your favorite artist dropped in a week, it wasn’t an instant iTunes download. Need to look up some information? There was no Google. We had libraries.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade the convenience of my iPhone, but I think our society could benefit from stepping away from the Internet and slowing down a bit. Maybe we could try something else our parents and grandparents told us about: shutting everything off once in a while.

What do you miss most about the “good old days?”

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