“We are drowning in information, but starved for knowledge” was written by John Naisbitt…in 1982…and I can’t find a more apt commentary about the status of my own overwhelmed brain. 16 years after that statement was made, Google was founded, and since then, countless other technologies exist that enable us to access information like never before.
But my brain hurts. It feels like when Tom from Tom and Jerry gets shot at and then takes a drink of water. As he drinks it down, it just goes right out all the holes he now has. My head is kind of like an old colander these days—I can hold the water of information for a little bit before it just seeps right through.
Listen, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a Google Girl. Ask anyone who knows me well, and they’ll roll their eyes and comment on how I whip out my Droid like a six-shooter and dial up information faster than a speeding bullet. It’s awesome…”Who starred in My Favorite Martian”? Done. “What is the lifespan of a dragonfly?” You got it. “What’s the record number of points scored in a football game?” Dude, I’m all over it.
But I have come to recognize that while a ginormous amount of information is at my fingertips, my retention of it, well…totally blows…as in blows through one ear, takes a brief stop at my addled brain, and then goes right out the other ear.
And it’s not just Google or other search engines. It’s all the opportunities we have to store information that we know we can access later…but will we? And if we do, will we truly digest it, remember it, and learn from it? Like Naisbitt states, we aren’t necessarily using it for the growth of knowledge. Today you can Evernote it, Pin it, Facebook it, Drop Box it, stick it in an email folder, on your phone—you name it. Entire companies are exploding with ways for us to store, store, store. My head is truly in The Cloud.
And the sad reality is that what is stored in my brain is ridiculous stuff that entered in years ago when it had a fighting chance to hang around. Oh, if only I could make room for data that actually matters by hitting the delete key on all of the Brady Bunch tidbits stuck inside my brain. And I don’t have to look far—these little bits of useless minutiae bubble up with no problem.
The name of the kid they brought in when Cindy and Bobby were getting too old to be “cute” anymore? Cousin Oliver. Who played Aunt Jenny, Jan’s lookalike? Imogene Coca. What was the name of Alice’s identical cousin (a popular yet disturbing TV phenomenon)? Emma. What world record do Bobby and Cindy try to break to garner some attention? Teeter-tottering. You get the idea.
I need to defrag my brain.
And as if all of our ability to catalog and store info wasn’t enough, we have things like YouTube now offering recommendations for videos to watch—because apparently they don’t trust me to waste enough of my time on their site without their stellar suggestions! “Hey, if you like that puppy video, we’re sure you’ll enjoy THIS one…” Uh, thanks, YouTube, but I will figure out what videos I want to distract myself with…oh, wait…that one does look awfully cute…
It must be a conspiracy. Information is out to get me! I am getting pummeled with factoids and folklore. What to do?! Where can all this information overload possibly lead?!
Guess I’ll Google it to find out.