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The Newness of - De File — LiveJournal
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
The Newness of
Last night I had a great conversation at The Grill with a friend I hadn't seen in a few years. Thanks to our participation in social media -- we became Live Journal friends about five years ago and are now connected via Facebook as well -- we were able to start several levels above simple "catching up." Although we both had significant news of the sort that a careful user of social media is unlikely to share directly, there was enough common ground to make it quickly to topics we'd never discussed before.

Today, I was able to keep tabs on the Arizona-Green Bay playoff game while hiking in Ventana Canyon. When we stopped at Frost on the way home for gelato, I had no trouble joining in the conversation with other patrons who were staring intently at the flat-panel from a position of real-time statistical awareness. I didn't have to ask what had happened up until that point in the final quarter. Instead, I could immediately engage in the sort of sophisticated debate that sports radio shows provide.

I mention these two examples because it has struck me recently that the most striking distance between life today and what things were like in my youth is that it has become far, far easier to "get up to speed" in a speedy fashion than was the case in the 1970s and 1980s. Mind you, you still have to want to achieve such synchronization. Desire and will remain crucial factors. But if the investment of time and energy is sufficient, ignorance, at least in a factual sense, is now very difficult to sustain. I realize this probably sounds obvious. Still, I am excited to commence pondering the deeper implications of this insight, among them the realization that potential knowledge can be a pretty difficult burden.

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7 comments or Leave a comment
chefxh From: chefxh Date: January 11th, 2010 08:45 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
the sort of sophisticated debate that sports radio shows provide.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 11th, 2010 02:05 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Yes, that does sound ridiculous, I suppose. But I meant only in the technically sophisticated sense, i.e. with arguments bolstered by lots of stats and other information that would once have been classified as "insider" knowledge.
From: veggieducksalad Date: January 11th, 2010 12:58 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

I think it depends

I suspect this model works great for personal news, sports and celebrities. I suspect that apart from the sorts of things that get interest in social media, it works less well for politics. In politics, I would suggest the converse: it is that much easier to sustain ignorance and insularity, as well as the illusion of being informed.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 11th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: I think it depends

Oh, I agree. And as I tried to note in my reply above, I didn't mean to equate knowledge and wisdom. I do think that, even in the political realm, people are much quicker now to muster "facts" in support of whatever claims they are making. They may persist in being ignorant, but their ignorance is more finely detailed.
bitterlawngnome From: bitterlawngnome Date: January 11th, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
and don't forget that awkward moment where you run into someone and they mention something that happened to them last week ... and you stare blankly ... and they say, didn't you read my? ... and it becomes obvious you didn't.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 11th, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Totally. The assumption that others will want to be up to speed with one's life and will therefore have made sure to get the information they need runs rampant.
celebrian_3 From: celebrian_3 Date: January 11th, 2010 08:08 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I find, unfortunately, that I possess neither the will nor the energy to sustain such a connectedness to the world, and so find myself in a continual state of ignorance on a number of matters. I, therefore, tend to perceive this turn of events as yet another way that I feel disconnected with the world around me, and in particular, the way it operates. I can't seem to decide, either, if this is an actual deficiency in myself about which I should be "ashamed," or if it's acceptable owing to the wide number of topics about which I do possess an interest and the inherent impossibility presented in keeping up, to the minute, with all of them--as well as all the other responsibilities in my life to which I must attend or . . . say, NOT EAT :-).
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