A lot of us will resolve to consume less in 2013.
Less sugar. Less alcohol. Less snacking. We all view a reduction in consumption as a way to becoming better people.
But what about reducing our consumption of information?
A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook an article about a lunatic who was shooting firemen who arrived on the scene to fight a fire. My friend included the caption: “WTF is wrong with this world?”
I argued that that this doesn’t represent anything necessarily “wrong” with the world; it’s just the way it’s always been. But now there are more channels to fill, so we have more information (like lunatics shooting firemen) at our disposal. And I’m not sure it’s a good thing.
Let me first say this: The Internet is glorious place. But if you are somebody with a glass-half-empty disposition, it’s very easy to find things that only serve to reinforce your belief that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. After all: alarmist reporting garners more clicks than stories about cute kitty cats.
I have no doubt that belief in the Mayan doomsday prophecy was fueled by a wealth of unregulated information running rampant in the deep recesses of the World Wide Web. Those who chose to believe could find exactly what they needed to find to reinforce their belief that an ancient civilization had predicted the end of the world. But just because it’s on the Web doesn’t mean it’s right.
With 2013 less than 13 hours old, maybe it’s time we start to become more aware of what type of information we are consuming. Or, just like with alcohol and sugar, maybe we focus on consuming an appropriate amount.
Everything is better in moderation, including Facebook and Twitter and the Web. I’m not saying we ignore it, because I truly believe the Web is a wonderful place that has more benefits than drawbacks. But if we allow ourselves to get sucked in, it can quickly become a place of despair.
So this week, as you are working hard to keep those New Year’s Resolutions intact, think about the information you are consuming, and ask yourself: Am I consuming the right kind?
It might just change your outlook.