Up until 1960s, my Pen Pals and I would mail handwritten letters to each other.
In sixth grade, I received a set of felt-tipped colored pens. These were magical in that I now could express emotions through different colored highlights and designs.
My penpals (used as one word, today) complimented me on my penmanship. I wrote almost perfectly, just like the white script letters on the green cards that used to line the tops of school chalkboards across America.
Back then, I couldn’t wait to get a letter from one of my pals. They’d use fancy stationary with pretty designs, something I never had.
Time moved a bit slower forty years ago and we were more patient.
We had to be.
Remember party lines?
Five families shared one phone line.
If you wanted to make a call, you’d lift the receiver and if someone was already talking on the line, you’d quietly hang-up and try again later. If there was an emergency, you’d ask the caller on the line if s/he could hang-up so that you could make your call.
Try explaining a shared line to your teen who’s busy talking on the phone, while playing a game or surfing the Internet using a tablet.
Remember looking forward to the mailman who carried the big blue bag on his shoulder as he walked up and down the block of your neighborhood dropping letters in each box? You were lucky if you got mail more than several times a week.
Those not-so-long-ago quaint times existed while the world’s population was only 3.5 billion. Today, twice as many of us are trying to drink from a fire hose delivering a thousand times more information.
I read somewhere that all the information from the year 0 to 2000 is what we receive each week! My figures may not be exact, but that’s because there is so much information to remember. And if I wrote it down, where would I find it when I needed it?
It’s no wonder we fear forgetting and Alzheimer’s! Look at all that information we need to remember!
Consider that a family of four today likely has five or more phone numbers (four cell, work, landline, and fax).
Instead of 5 families sharing one phone, we went right through a worm hole into another dimension of too much information — one family has 5 phones!
Today, not only do we get daily mail from our mail carrier (half of it we don’t want or need), we also receive eMails to our one, two, or three eMail addresses. To keep track of all the eMails I receive, I have six eMail addresses. We receive text messages on our phones, FaceBook comments, Tweets, LinkedIn updates, and still the occasional fax.
There’s just too much information…and too little time.
When the editorial director of Book Business + Publishing Executive magazines asked for my feedback on what I’d like to see in her magazine, I wrote:
Noelle, the truth is since I began receiving the subscription a year ago, I have read only one article. I am so inundated with information daily — eMails, articles online, etc.; I barely have a chance to get my own work accomplished.
And it’s not just your magazine … it’s all the others I receive as part of my professional memberships.
Because of this, I have not accepted your kind offer to renew for another year.
Noelle Skodzinski appreciated my remarks and asked whether more compelling content may encourage me to read more of the issues.
In a follow-up eMail I explained:
I think we’re all inundated with too much information and not absorbing much of it. [Our eyes see words but our brains don’t retain their meaning.] I am exploring this issue in a forthcoming book related to clutter — physical and cognitive.
We all need to take a break, step back, and give our brains some time to assimilate the information already taken in. When we are able to start doing this is another matter!
Every now and then, I’ll ask The Caregiver’s Voice Monthly Newsletter subscribers for feedback. My attitude is why should I spend about 8 hours every month putting together a newsletter that doesn’t fit caregivers’ needs?
What hasn’t changed is the amount of time we have to wade through all this information each day!
We still have 24 hours. And in that time we have to answer the phone (which one is ringing?) reply to eMails, keep up with our group updates on LinkedIn, see who’s saying what on FaceBook, and Tweet, Google+, oh, and now Pinterest. I just StumbleUpon thinking about all this!
Thank you, Sharon Price, for sharing the photo of the Busy Little Girl and the accompanying message.
The Caregiver’s Voice makes every effort to find the source of uncredited posts and photos. We found this photo and contacted the site who does not own the license. Per their request we have not included the site name. We welcome the photographer to contact us to receive proper credit.