Hyperinformationalism

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’LL EVER READ! I DON’T KNOW IF IT’S GOOD OR BAD! IT DOESN’T MATTER BECAUSE IT’S REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT! THAT’S WHY IT’S IN BOLD-FACED CAPITAL LETTERS, SO YOU’LL KNOW IT’S IMPORTANT! SEE ALL THE EXCLAMATION POINTS? NO?! THEN YOU’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION! COME ON! WAKE UP! THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!

I made up a word. Then I made up a phenomenon to go with it. The word and the phenomenon are hyperinformationalism. They’re illustrated by the paragraph above. They refer to the fact that we’ve become of a race of knee-jerk artists — constantly and reflexively twitching under the relentless onslaught of information with which we’re constantly bombarded. And they confirm this truism: When everything’s important, nothing’s important.

I made up a theory, too;

We spend so much time inflicting so much information on ourselves from so many electronic sources, we’ve mistaken ourselves for computers.

We think we’re the same sort of objective, dispassionate, unemotional accessing mechanisms as those amalgams of chips, processors, transducers, capacitors, and wires. But we’re not. And we’re suffering for it.

This is why, from the youngest age I can remember — I grew up at a time in which the dissemination of information was the exclusive provinces of newspapers, radio, and television — I never paid attention to the news. The reason? It’s too new.

We can react to news, but we can’t know all of its implications. We can only know its ramifications over time. The news can soothe or cause panic, but it can’t reveal which reaction is warranted and why. The news can tell us what happened, but it can’t tell us what, if anything, we should do about it. It can’t tell us what will happen. Knowing what will happen as a consequence of any news item was always more important to me than what someone else was telling me had happened. It still is. The age of hyperinformationalism has only created more opportunities for us to react to the superficial and the trivial.

Have we lost our ability to ponder and to ask critical, analytical, discerning questions? It seems as if we’ve lost it or surrendered it. Have we lost time? I don’t know. But I do know it seems so.

Just when we might engage in discriminating contemplation, we’re overwhelmed by the next wave of brute input so raw it can’t even be considered information. Awash in that wave with its potential to stifle reason and to stimulate beyond comprehension, we have a choice: Ignore it all until any items of any import roll forth in another wave — or react to all of it instantaneously: Good. Bad. Hopeful. Fearful. Important. Trivial. All of it.

A twitching knee has no reason. It reacts on impulse. In the manic, agitated trance of hyperinformationalism, so do we.

Thanks to hyperinformationalism, we’re bidden to forego relaxation and contemplation. We’re endlessly tempted to abandon our capacities for reflection, for examination, for questioning and discernment, for taking our time and communicating meaningfully and substantively. We’ve raised our expectations of our abilities to absorb and comprehend beyond sense and sanity.

One man’s deluge is not another man’s meaningful information. So, why not take it easy?

Buck the trend. Turn down the volume. Skip the so-called news. Create meaning. Let it reflect and differentiate you. Give people a chance to absorb it. Make it good enough that they want (to learn) more (from or about you). Don’t flood, trickle. Don’t scream, communicate quietly and directly.

IT’S THE ONLY WAY THE PEOPLE WITH WHOM WE COMMUNICATE WILL EVER BE ABLE TO DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES WHAT’S REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT!!!

Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brienhttps://obriencg.com/
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.
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Laura Staley

I hope you’ll be happy to know I began a news fast in August of 2014, Mark. This continues to this very moment of opening up your article. I’m not under a rock because I have people in my life still “trending” with the hyperinformationalism. (Great word and concept, BTW!). The choice to interact with content (essays on LI and Biz Catalyst360 for instance) that fascinates me, to read books that inspire me, to think critically about many things, to write about what I feel deeply passionate– frees me.

One of the principles of feng shui is the interconnectivity of life-Everything is connected (the energy in everything is connected.) There’s a practice that flows out of this principle which is permission to connect with what actually empowers us-including people, activities, and belongings (and to disconnect from clutter-which can show up in many forms).

I find a life of introspection, meditation, running solo around a lake, writing from the heart, looking out at the mountains and trees to be exactly what my body, mind, heart, and soul require to continue healing and transforming. I learned from Susan Cain and her book, Quiet, to be empowered inside all the benefits of a more introverted lifestyle.

Thank you for your creative thinking, the invention of a new word (I think it works!!), and validation for those of us who have chosen to continue cultivating discernment and critical thinking alongside innovating and creating.

Aldo Delli Paoli

We consume gigabytes and gigabytes of information a day, quench our thirst for news from blogs and social networks, we frequently check our smartphone to follow digital tam tams. We practically navigate in a sea of ​​information, an ecosystem also full of contradictions and distortions. A bombardment of information in which everything is complex: it is difficult to discern what is important from what is not and, before that, it is complex to distinguish what is true from what is false.
It cannot be trusted. Also because the use of news passes through human intermediation (for example social media), where the ability to engage emotionally rather than the balance and logic of reasoning emerge.
 I believe that social media, today’s protagonists of the use of the media (especially among the younger ones) must assume a social responsibility on this issue: if they do not sacrifice their unbalanced propensity to seek involvement-at-all-the costs, in favor of the creation of a healthier news ecosystem, they must take into account that they have launched a boomerang destined to return with strength and with consequences that are not easily foreseeable. Those who design the algorithms cannot exempt themselves from this consideration, rewarding the authoritativeness of the sources and rejecting those who produce disinformation (especially if with malicious intent). And this is probably the strongest and most pressing problem at the moment.

David B. Grinberg

Excellent points here, Mark. Consider this:
George Orwell raised serious concerns about a future world in which people would be deprived of information (like in Communist countries like China with state run media). However, on the other hand, Aldous Huxley was troubled that people would be provided with so much information overload they would be subjugated to passivity and egotism (either conscious or unconscious). Two bad outcomes of our ubiquitous mobile, digital and virtual Information Age.

Jeff Ikler

Mark, I’m looking for a dull butter knife to put to my wrist…. I agree with you 100% on the need to cut back. I am going for a walk in a few minutes totally unplugged. I am going to listen to my head. Maybe the Muse will show up with a story and say “Let’s write about this.”

I like your concept except some of what masquerades as information is simply content. The sad part is that we have lost our ability to discern good information / content from bad information / content. I realize those are relative terms, but you get what I mean.

I am stunned today, for example, listening to the impeachment testimony. Not to get too deep in the murky waters of politics, but I am struck by the ability of certain individuals to simply lie. Lie! And they must know it. As Rudy G once said, “truth isn’t truth.”

Glenn Melcher

Hi Mark: really nice insight “again”

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