Keeping current

My friend and I were talking about how some people have a real Passion for Technology (note the cheesy capitalization). And in general, there are just people out there who want as much information as possible all the time. Cannot get enough. Always want to know what the new thing is, what’s going on, who’s doing what. And I don’t mean in terms of gossip– God knows that a lot of the time, I could not care less about what people I know are up to. No, I mean, to always be aware of current events, current technologies, everything about the current big thing and what’s going to be the next big thing. And this passion usually extends beyond the tech stuff– it goes to politics and social issues and pop culture. It’s a need to be engaged in the world, even if it’s by sitting in front of your computer and surfing the Web all day.

In a lot of ways, I’m certainly this kind of person (of course, everyone has areas of the world that she could not care less about). I thought of this as I was going through my Bloglines subscriptions and realized that even though I probably already spend way too much time in front of a computer as it is, I want to subscribe to more and more feeds. I am compelled to do it. I can’t help but want to click on every little checkbox so that suddenly, I’ll get a constant feed of what’s posted on some news site or on the blog of somebody I don’t even know. I’m always trying to keep up with the news, tech or otherwise, and whenever people are talking about something relatively interesting (which is, I know, a subjective thing), whether it be a new movie out or the Arab-Israeli conflict, I try to at least listen, if not be involved in the conversation. And this is usually the quality I look for in other people, in friends and coworkers and otherwise, and I usually know pretty quickly it’s not going to work out if somebody glazes over during involved or esoteric conversations. I mean, even when a conversation goes beyond my level of expertise on the topic (which is certainly not unusual), I’m still eager to listen and learn.

But in some ways, with information becoming so accessible in this computer age (again, a cheesy phrase), I think those who aren’t actively seeking to keep up-to-date and informed are going to be quickly left behind. With email, the Internet, television, and more, with personalized information services and so much content coming from so many different places, we’re all trying to drink from the firehose– and I can’t help but think that soon, evolution will re-wire our brains so that we will be able to take it all in. And those who do it first will be able to emerge from the cave first. Just look at how geeks rule the world now. They (we, whatever) were the first ones to latch onto the computer era and in the end, those who can make sense of all this tech stuff (and do it in just the right ways) can move to the front of the pack.

Every day, human beings are developing the ability to process more information in a shorter amount of time. Today’s teenagers are already doing it– they can watch tv, listen to music, talk on the phone, and do their homework all at the same time. Granted, a lot of them aren’t actually doing any one of those things all that well, but a lot of them are getting along just fine and are changing the way we all work and live. Keeping up-to-date is more important than ever. I work with college students everyday and every year, I get older and the kids (ahem, sorry students) stay the same age. And so, the world may have one time thought me young, but even as an (almost) twenty-five year old, I find myself having to reinvent myself all the time. Challenging, but how exciting too!

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