Navigating through the information flow

Nina Kraviz_158

Foto: Obi Blanche

Read all of Nina’s previous Groove columns here.
A German translation of this text has been published in Groove 158 (January/February 2016)

Lately I find it not easy to navigate in today’s overwhelming information flow. It’s great to have free access to information, especially in the internet age. It can be very beneficial indeed if used properly. But if you want to find truth it can also be very confusing. Attention grabbing headlines, catchy words and powerful images that all mean to evoke something in you in order to get immediate emotional response on stimulus. Emotional response is the easiest one, unlike intellectual one it doesn’t require much time and effort. Probably that is the reason why information, especially in social media, is often served like processed food: ready for immediate consumption it leaves very little chance to have a better picture of what really does take place. It seems that discussing music in the way that we normally discuss politics has became today’s reality.

In fact, it could be that people discuss music more than they actually listen to it. By the time one finally gets to press play button he has his opinion almost formulated. Though the way we perceive information might not be the same for everyone and often depends on education, social skill and on a overall cultural background of a concrete individual but the majority of people tend to have a very common reaction patterns. To sum it up we don’t take too much time to think before we form an opinion and do not bother to collect sufficient amount of information before judging on something. Instead most of the time people jump into a next easy conclusion following offered lazy coherent path. In the situation like that the distinctive line in between a firm fact and just an opinion becomes blurred. But what is very distinctive is how we share our opinions off and online. It seems that internet space has this barrier breaking effect on people. With the name under each comment it appears to be quite depersonalised and reduced to a simple public opinion formula-black or white. And nothing in between. Minority vs majority.

When talking about that, the least famous quote of Mark Twain pops up in my mind: “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect”. I would only add to it that it’s probably even better to be on your own side. It is not an easy task and it requires some effort. Because all of the time spent on sharing unfinished thought online can be better spent investigating the subject. Because there is so much more that lies in between primary colours and easy truths. And while there are enough truly relevant opinions coming from highly intelligent people worth a proper look, this space in between is exactly the place for a self-reflection. The space where a real opinion can be grounded. That belongs to nobody but yourself.

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