Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Addicted to data

I try to regulate my data intake: I don't carry a BlackBerry. But I do carry a cell phone, and it has made me a rapacious consumer of text messages. I've become dismally fluent in typing on my cell phone's keypad, one thumbed, while walking. Don't get me wrong: I have a full-blown e-mail problem too. And when it's not coming in through my eyes, digital information is taking over my ears via my beloved white iPod. If you're reading this, you probably share my addiction... Data comes to us wrapped in the rethoric of interpersonal connection, creating a sense that our loved ones, or at least liked or tolerated ones, are electronically present to us, however far away they may be. But I can't help wondering if we're underestimating the countervailing effect: the cost we're paying in our disconnection from our immediate surroundings, in our dependence on a continuous flow of electronic attention to prop up our egos and, above all, in a rising inability to be alone with our own thoughts - with that priceless stream of analog data that comes not from without but from within.


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