Thursday, October 29, 2015

Use(less?)(ful?) information abounds

The other day my mom and I were sitting side by side on the couch, each with our own computer in our lap, pinning. I know, real quality time. I chortled and showed her a pin that popped up on my page: how to chop up a cauliflower. Her response: who goes to the effort to take photos and write a blog post on how to chop up a cauliflower? Just get out your knife and start chopping!

That got me to thinking about how much totally useless information abounds on the internet. We're filling our heads with junk. Factoids, fake factoids, rumors, urban legends, inconsequential stuff. We over-parent, over-share, over-think. Yet, at the same time... how exactly do I chop up a cauliflower? How do I shred cabbage without a food processor? I'd better do a quick check online before I make the same coleslaw that I've made for years, because maybe someone has a better way.

And maybe someone does have a better way. That's when the internet gets good. Push past all the crap, all the distractions, and we get something amazing: information and community. Real, actual, legitimate information abounds on the internet, and the community that writes it, reads it, and shares it is awesome.

I read a lot of blogs and I often think about how well documented our world is now. We take thousands of pictures of our kids, teenagers take thousands of themselves, and how many cute cat videos are there online? We're constantly snapping away and sharing the big and little details of our lives. What will this look like in 100 years? Will we look at them in 100 years? Will we still be documenting in 100 years? Here's an opinion piece where the author asks us to stop using the internet. Heck no!

But here's the thing, no matter uselessness of all the information out there, I love my online communities. I'm in a local mom's group where we trade info on daycares and pediatricians; I'm in a global mom's group where we find and give support and advice; I'm in group for women sailors where we can ask boating questions and give advice in a judgment-free zone (turns out that the sailing world is pretty macho and there are a lot of know-it-alls out there); I'm in a sewing on boats group where we share our projects and get ideas about, yes, sewing for our boats. Etc.

The world is wide open and the internet gives us the space to find people with common interests and share and learn from each other. So, yeah, there is a whole bunch of crap online. And, yeah, I spend way too much time reading the junk when I could be reading an actual book (although I try my hardest to stay away from those online quizzes). But my love affair with the internet is wide and deep and I am not embarrassed about the amount of time I spend tapping away on Facebook and other websites. I love my online community!

(Although I'd be negligent to forget to add that the internet is a fabulous vehicle for my own procrastination.)
image courtesy of ChurchMag

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