Tag Archives: internet

Information overload.

For the past 5 years, I have been living as a functioning Infoholic.

These are the signs:

The first thing I do when I wake up is check emails and Facebook, and then NBA scores and news. I tell myself I do this “to wake my brain up”, but the truth is that I do it because I am addicted.

When I am with my beautiful daughters, there are many times when I am checking Facebook, instead of listening to what they are saying or watching them play. I sometimes get annoyed with them for getting in the way of my information-gathering habit.

I usually look up trivial facts during each movie I watch: What else has this actor been in? Who wrote this screenplay? It’s become quite normal to tweet during TV events, but I struggle to watch a whole movie nowadays because of my reduced concentration span.

A few days ago, my iPhone broke. I went a few hours without it. Then I realised I’d gone a whole day. Then three days. And nothing bad happened. I read a book. A whole book, not just the article about it on Wikipedia. I felt liberated, as though I am not at anyone else’s beck and call. The constant worry was gone, and I felt my brain starting to work at full speed again as the data haze started to disappear. The information stopped becoming so immediately abundant, but a visit to a library reminded me that there was still more information available than I could possibly consume.

John Naish, author of the book Enough, lives in Brighton UK without a mobile phone. When I first heard that, it sounded impossible. But maybe he is making a wise choice. Maybe we don’t need our gadgets as often as we think we do. Maybe the constant flow of information is paradoxically making us less informed. Maybe our inability to be bored, is actually getting in our brain’s way from doing the sorting and indexing required to make new creative connections. Maybe we’ll soon realize that our cultural and creative progress is being held back, and we need to move past this information addiction that so many of us seem to suffer from.

But for now, my iPhone is back. My ipad is always nearby. My Facebook feed is just a click away, wherever I am. And my daughters have started to ask constantly for the ipad or the phone, and they get really, really annoyed if they aren’t allowed to use them…

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Key dates in the history of the Interent.

(someone at work asked me to pull together a quick timeline of some key dates for the internet. I had a go. Tell me if I’ve: got something wrong; added something irrelevant; missed something vital)

1969 first host-to-host transmission happens in California

1972 First emails sent

1973 The term “Internet” is used

1991 The World-Wide Web (WWW) released by CERN, developed but Tim Berners-Lee. The same year as the first GSM call was made in Tampere, Finland.

1992 Al Gore talks about building “The Information Superhighway”.

1993 Netscape, the first commercially successful browser, is released

1994 Amazon is founded

1995 JAVA programming language is created by Sun Microsystems

1995 Yahoo is founded, providing web search engine, email, mapping

1996 The first mobile phone connected to the Internet – the Nokia 9000 Communicator – was launched in Finland

1997 The first weblogs appear, later termed Blogs.

1998 Google is founded, with its breakthrough search algorithm.

2000 The first internet bubble “bursts”…

2001 Wikipedia is launched

2001 First commercial launch of 3G in Japan.

2004 Facebook is launched

2005 Youtube is launched

2006 Twitter is launched

2007 The iPhone is launched

2009 40th birthday of the internet. Angry Birds released.

2010 Pinterest is launched

2011 Twitter and Facebook are the primary means of communication for the Middle East revolutions.

2012 Draw Something is released, getting 50 million downloads in its first 50 days. Instagram gets to 13 staff, and sells for 1 billion dollars to Facebook.

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