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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Stop being entertained by today and try to be yourself

January 4, 2007

Over the last few months something has come to my attention that has slowly revealed itself in a few different forms. Being entertained by “what is happening today” gets boring really fast and finding what your own personal interests are can be increasingly difficult if you are. I suppose this needs a little bit of background.

Being entertained by today?

The world continues to shrink due to the speed at which information is broadcast worldwide. This makes it really easy to tap yourself into pretty much whatever type of information you want and soak it all in. However, regardless of how small the world is perceived to be because of technological and information distribution advancement – the world is still huge. The amount of information found on the Internet is increasing at an immeasurable rate. In other words; you will never be able to keep up.

Let’s say for example that you are interested in space. By now you probably know that I have a modest amount of interest in space that continues to grow. The amount of information on the Internet about space is staggering. I can imagine a kid walking into a library years ago and pulling an entire section of books off the shelf dealing with space and being overwhelmed with the amount of information he has to catch up on. Even with modern day tools to help us find exactly what we’re looking for, this feeling remains very much the same for me. But this is a good thing – the bad thing would be to try to “keep up-to-the-day” on a particular subject globally, since it proves to be near impossible to do unless you are a researcher by trade.

Call it information overload. But there are ways to combat this. Be specific in what you are looking for and the amount of information on the specific thing can be whittled down into something manageable. Do not “tap your brain” into the Internet and hope that you have the time, or the ability, to weed through the right, the wrong, the bad, and the good. Eventually the cream will rise to the top.

Being yourself?

More specifically; finding out what your personal interests are. I get the whole “social web” thing that allows us to monitor hundreds if not thousands of topics or people in various ways. It allows us to interact with people who have similar interests than us regardless of geography, economic situation, or language. I completely agree that the Web is a cool place.

But have you ever found yourself being a follower of everything? I touched on this in “Taking advantage of the things you already own”, where people want the latest and greatest before they even know how to use what they already have. I’ve been guilty of this. But there is also the idea of the quantity of “things” you have too. Or the quantity of the interests you supposedly have. Do you have 1,000 hobbies? Or, perhaps you just have 1 but it changes every single day before you have a chance to fully explore the hobby you did yesterday? I think it is good to have a few hobbies, this way you can pick what you want to do today based on your mood – but having too many can lead you to never fully exploring any of them.

Where did all of this stem from?

Hopefully if you read this you are able to understand what I am trying to say and maybe you can even relate. I’m definitely not the best writer and I seem to leave stuff out pretty consistently so I hope I was able to at least make a little sense.

Where did this all come from? A few months back I was notified that my Flickr account was going to expire. It got me to thinking about whether or not I use Flickr to its fullest potential, and whether or not I could simply live with the free-account for what I actually do use it for. A few days later I got an email from Microsoft about my Xbox Live account expiring. I looked at the pile of dust on my Xbox and decided that I would not renew that either. I don’t want to be forced into using something because I’m paying for it. Then I looked at my telescope and watercolor paints collecting dust. Realizing I’d much rather use them than the Xbox. I spent some time outside collecting fossils (I used to spend the majority of my life outdoors and now it is the opposite) and I really wanted to start to find out what my “real world” interests were again. It used to be mostly natural things. The woods, animals, plants, dirt, anything outside. Then it completely switched where I spent over 10 years almost completely indoors learning how to do what it is I do now – but I believe there to be a balance and I am definitely not striking it. Call it my resolution for 2007 or just a personal goal – I want to balance things.

I was talking to my friend Dave O. the other day and he feels very much the same as I do. I’m guessing that we’re not alone. He was commenting to me how much he enjoyed playing games with his son, or just “petting the dog and staring at the wall”. I couldn’t agree more. I’m looking forward to this new challenge – and it will be a challenge. I’d like to start spending nearly the same amount of time pursuing real world personal interests as I do online ones.

The World only looks like it is shrinking when you look at it through a monitor.

[tags]personal, thoughts, entertainment, hobbies, flickr, xbox, nature, space, telescope, internet, web, thinking[/tags]

[slug]entertain-yourself[/slug]