Public transport, to many observers, personifies a modern day tragedy. On any train or bus, you will see endless commuters slumped over tablets and smartphones, a businessperson drafting emails, tabloids and broadsheets discarded on empty seats. There are more keyboard clicks than human voices. Everyone is connected and disconnected simultaneously. Such a scene evokes nostalgic, whimsical reflections about the Western world, the combined curse and blessing of the information age.
Newspapers, of course, are timeless. They entered circulation for the first time in the late seventeenth century and since then, their primacy in enlightening the public on political, economic and cultural matters. Magazines serve a similar function. Technology, however, is revolutionary by continuously changing both the amount and the type of material we can access, while emboldening us to become ‘content creators’ ourselves.
Few people reject technological change as entirely negative. After all, we are lucky to have anything from knowledge to business opportunities at our fingertips. But it can be pretty overwhelming. The world, for one, is polarised. Concerning divisive subjects such as politics and the human condition, opinions and sources conflict everywhere. Each one claims to ‘debunk’ the others. Regardless of whether the subject matter in question is the ideal political candidate or way to quit procrastination, each one markets itself as the voice of authority. And with the restrictions on who can produce informations for others to consume loosened, anyone can elevate their voice to that of an authority. The internet is a window and a shield, giving an insight into who one wants others to believe them to be. The right response to this is not nihilism but on the contrary, a critical eye, a display of selectiveness in choosing your sources and role models.
Little suffers from ‘information overload’ to the same degree as blogging and the ‘self-improvement’ niche. Entrepreneurs, bloggers and writers address the cultural aspiration to become our best selves and meet our goals, providing sometimes conflicting and sometimes harmonious advice on anything from time management to organisation