We spent New Years in time honored family tradition, on the beach under a glorious clear sky, with the Western Outer Orion Arm of the Milky Way luminous and scattered above the warm summer waves.
This year, I've decided to focus on production rather than on consumption. If that sounds a bit odd, well, perhaps it is.
It seems to me that in this coming decade, the massive increase in information availability, brought to me through the internet - through Facebook, and Twitter, and mainly through a never ending supply of smart, insightful and amusing humans to provide me with content, results in me feeling obligated to consume it all.
That I should read each heartfelt status update, and follow each interesting link. I should upvote salient points of view, demote and chastise those less pleasant.
I should "Like" things I read,
(Except when the tone of the status update indicates that "liking" would be inappropriate:
"Bob was abused as a child - 12 people like this")
I should be abreast of the latest memes and Internet jokes, be able to identify a RickRoll or a Bachelor Frog at twenty paces. I should re-tweet this to my followers. I should leave a pingback on relevant posts. I should only "mark as read" when I have actually 'read'. I should not unsubscribe, or uninstall. I should poke those who poke me. I should help my neighbor in Farmville. I should add to favorites. I should rate this content 5 stars. I wont have the guts to set this as my status message for the day. I should leave a review. I should ignore this purchase for the purposes of recommendations. I should re-join today at heavily discounted rates. Chris is new, so I should suggest people who Chris knows...
LOOK INTERNET, ENOUGH, OK?
Given some time to reflect, in all seriousness, all this stuff requires me to take in an inordinate amount of information. My default position in the information economy has become to spend far too much time trying to passively consume it all.
As much as I love the people and the intentions behind it, this year I'm going to stop consuming.
Instead, I'll focus more on my family , my work , my blog, and the endeavours that I've already undertaken, that are, truth be told, suffering through my information consumption addiction. Focus more on what I can produce, than what I can consume.
So, my gift to you for the coming year, is this:
Go ahead and ignore me.
Don't read my status updates, or my tweets. Don't feel you have to reply to my silly email, or leave comments on my ramblings.
I won't mind. It doesn't sound like much, I know, but maybe I can give you back a single instant of time to produce something worthwhile - a moment with your kids, or some creative pursuit- leaving the office a minute earlier, not missing the train, checking an item off the task-list.
In the end, it's our contributions that define us. Our actions, not the amount of background research we did.
This year, I want to do more, and I think the way to achieve it will be to focus on the doing, rather than the related information and discussion.
Happy New Year!
(if you like this post, please tell ten friends about it, via seven different social networks, set this as your status, print it out and stick it to your car. Bill Gates is counting them, and 1 dollar from every post will go to cure starving elephants from child abuse.)