In a bid to quiet the noise in my head I’m reviewing my online activity and trying to carve out plenty of time to enjoy being un-plugged me. For example, I have stopped turning my phone on when I wake up. I have a book by my bed that is chosen just because it is beautiful (currently, Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son). I read and sip my tea before beginning any online activity. I’m trying not to use my phone or go online until mid morning at the earliest.
Advertising, emails, social media, Pinterest perfect aspirations, and a big pile of books, there’s always a surplus of demands as well as far too many really brilliant blogs to read!
Information overload or infoxication is the problem of making meaningful choices in the midst of too much information. In the 1980s it was simply, so many books and too little time, but with the advent of the internet the pool of available information got much, much bigger. There’s a deep anxiety at the heart of our aimless clicking. An anxiety that somewhere on the internet is hidden the answers to our most profound questions, the secrets of meaningful relationships, the keys to happiness or a fast track to success and power. We want to be the first to find it, save it, share it and blog about it.
The writer of Ecclesiastes lamented the ultimate emptiness of book learning when he said,
Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.
Many centuries later the 18th century philosopher Diderot wrote a surprisingly similar thing,
As long as the centuries continue to unfold, the number of books will grow continually, and one can predict that a time will come when it will be almost as difficult to learn anything from books as from the direct study of the whole universe. It will be almost as convenient to search for some bit of truth concealed in nature as it will be to find it hidden away in an immense multitude of bound volumes.
Imagine an age when the number of written texts was small enough for an educated man to master them within his life time? How can we begin to negotiate the amount of information available today and the ever increasing ways of accessing it?
This doesn’t mean I’m about to give up reading! On the contrary I plan to share more book reviews and reading suggestions on my blog for the summer, just for fun. But I have however decided to take the advice of one of my favourite blog writers Emily Freeman and slim down the number of blogs and online articles I read. Emily writes at Chatting at the Sky where she successfully helps hassled people like me find a little space for the soul to breathe. Her soul breathing suggestion is a list of ten favourite blogs and some kind of weekly discipline that organises the reading around other less frantic activities and rest.
I like to think that my choice of 10 blogs reflects the best of what I do on the internet and the type of information I enjoy: some devotional reading, some social justice, a little well considered theological controversy, something bookish and intellectual, something domestic and mumsie and some pretty pictures, all from people who I find to be passionate, honest and insightful.
This is what I’m reading:
Let me know which blogs you read regularly and how you organise your online time.