Every time when we want to blame the Internet controlling and destroying our lives, don’t forget it has long been seen as an infrastructure to overcome the asymmetries of top-down broadcast media and even represent democracy (Lovink, 2013). The internet offers the freedom and power we had been eager for centuries. The problem is we always misuse the tool we invented.
I totally agree with the accusation that information overload is becoming the trouble of every netizen. Just like Lvoink (2013) said, platforms come and go, but the trend is clear: the networks without cause are time eaters, and we’re only being sucked deeper into the social cave without knowing what to look for. But another truth I want to point out is that having choices is always better than no choice. When the human society keeps changing, we meet difficulties and challenges in different specific ages. The information era is not a special case. Darwin said the fittest survive. So I believe that learning to organize your own “information flow”, layout your own “river channel” and build your own “sluice” are the most significant characters in the present age. There is a great saying I saw:
A ringing phone is an indication, not an obligation.
To me, these years I have been consciously developing my patient and interest in organizing my information receiving channels on the Internet, and adjusting it regularly. The key is never afraid to unsubscribe, unfollow or block some resources. I am an RSS user, but my subscribe list will never more than 10 sites. Every time when I realize I lost interest in one site or it push too many messages in one day, I delete it. Classifying your social media account is also important. You should make sure which one is for acquiring information and knowledge but which one is for knowing your friend’s life. Even though inside one platform, you can divide them into groups, and check them in different time and frequency.
When Lovink asked, self-management and techno-sculpturing become crucial: how do you shape the self in real-time flows? (Lovink, 2013) My answer would be: stay content. One can never access to all information or draw attention from everyone. Too much exposure doesn’t contribute to one’s online identity, I can be annoying. It reminds me of a friend, who spent hours to photoshop his photos and weigh his words before each social media post. And he will make one same message cover all different platforms. But all his effort is nothing more than a splash in the rapid flow. People keep pressing the refresh button but never looks back. The thing he cares a lot ——number of likes——is only a symbol to satisfy one’s vanity in this case. I know links create traffic, which in turn generates revenue (Lovink, 2013) and the Like is set up as a composite metric (Gerlitz & Helmond, 2013). But it only works in a business model with the external connection. As a normal person who only, his daily-life post will hardly generate second spreading. So I see these likes within a closed network as a politely refusing for further dialogue. To some extent, pressing the like is only a way to keep a relationship in the lowest cost. There is a post talked about that it means nothing when friends “like” your engage photos, and here is the vedio:
Sometimes I think people feel suffering in this age of web 2.0 just because we are too greedy. When all of us know the spirit of Internet is about free goods and sharing, we always try to ask for more. It’s not about the times, the trend, or the technology. That’s the problem of human nature. The Internet is showing a huge map of endless treasure, but it doesn’t mean we are capable of finding and possess all of them. Socrates said: “Know yourself.” I believe self-cognition and self-restraint are the first requirements for living in this particular age.
Just like Lovink indicated, user cultures long surpassed the imagination of IT journalists, and society is way ahead of its theorists. That’s why I always keep optimistic of our current media landscape. Technology is not controlling people and leading us to a worst future, the choice is still ours.