If we’re on the information superhighway, can we slow down?

… or at least learn to enjoy the ride (like this photo of the drive along Lac Leman between Geneva and Lausanne)? In the day and age of having information at our fingertips and spending probably 8 hours a day of a computer, how do we learn to slow down? With most of us on email or some kind of social media platform to bombard us with news, interests, and follow what our friends and family are doing, is it possible we’re just looking for a ‘quick-fix’ of info before we move on to the newest or ‘trending’ topic?

Don’t get me wrong, there are some fascinating ways we can turn ourselves or our interest into a visual and ultimately ‘share-able’ online tidbit. Take for example, the website http://vizualize.me/ – yep, that’s right, you can turn your resume and curriculum vitae, or CV, into a very graphical and somewhat interesting piece of art. There’s plenty of apps and other services online that takes advantage of that small, yet distinct narcissistic side in all of us. But it’s fun, right? And it might actually be useful to make use of all that information that’s around us… The New York Times has been at the frontline of taking information around us and turning it into something beautiful yet useful (checkout this page for a collection of their stuff).

But I’m still torn between the need to being ‘wired’ all the time and scanning online text to stay up-to-date with EVERYTHING, or just reading for the enjoyment and taking in every word. According to renowned usability expert, Jacob Nielsen, people don’t read anything online, they scan… and this article was written in 1997. So imagine after 10+ years of depending more and more on information from the web… has our brains been wired differently to read? Are we superficially understanding many things, but not really being knowledgeable about anything? In the future, will we need courses in learning how to learn?

UPDATE: Picked up the latest edition of Monocle and guess what? It’s about the future of media and how traditional media (i.e. print) might be making a comeback… or at least it’s refreshing to know that there’s people out there interested in well-written and researched stories – and worth spending the time (and $) to enjoy them.

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