Charles Peters

Designer / Developer

Drowning in Noise

Passing over intense earth-shattering personal trauma, there is not a thing i don’t think we would hesitate to share on the internet. every joke, thought, meal and moment is broadcasted, cataloged and archived. it’s a very testing thing. how much is too much and how much is not enough?

it gives a great amount of potential for marketing and advertisers to grab your attention and make contact with you to ultimately sell you things. it’s a constant flow that has brought every corner of life into the stream that pumps at the speed of a fire hose.

what it creates is noise. it fosters the need to constantly be sharing and in constant communication with everyone you believe to be an influencer.

there’s so much of noise that it’s hard to pick apart the pieces of information you need to consume and retain amongst the mountains of bytes of information that are insipid or irrelevant. is what that client mentioned in passing more important than the IM they sent that ended in ‘LOL’? my sister just left me a voicemail saying she needed to talk, but is that going to be like the last time she said that and we ended up talking about hanson for an hour on facebook? i have five new emails from a teacher, but how many of them are repeats of notes i already have in evernote? i always have my pulse on music and tech news, but how much of what i read pertains to bands or devices i couldn’t care less about?

i’m sitting in a small town in south central pennsylvania. you would swear it’s 1976 here. people have little clue about the internet, civil rights and equality are described as “trouble ahead” and no one knows what i mean when i say “gluten-free”. it is a slow paced town. the concept of a consistently flowing twitter stream or a RSS feed doesn’t render here. there’s an irrational resistance to connection, innovation and technology so much so that it’s frightening.

that resistance isn’t helpful with dealing with honest integration with technology and this need to be in constant communication. in the video below sherry turkle discusses the encroaching psychological power and rewiring that our devices and mass communication are causing on us.

what she’s calling for is control; control in the way of boundaries. i don’t want to live in a world where when i go get coffee with a friend, we’re just texting near each other. i don’t want to become more lonely in an attempt to connect with everyone. i try to do two things to try to connect more with people (to at least try to fight back at this mass communication).

  1. spend about an hour away from my phone a day.
  2. unfollow three people on twitter a week.

i’m finding more and more there’s so much communication and so little connection. i don’t want to reach the end of my life to discover that i sent too many emails and didn’t spend enough time telling people i care about them. both of these speakers are calling for space in our lives where things aren’t bombarding us with messages, where real-time conversation happens and when moments of value and reflection occur.

i want to keep finding that space in my life and carve it out while still being integrated and connected. i don’t think disconnection is the answer nor am i finding that these are two masters to be served. what i do see is reminding myself about the things that matter: my fiancee, my friends, the work i want to be more skilled in.

using communication as a means to serve those ends instead of being connected for sake of not being disconnected, is a better approach. for one it focuses less on how much and and too much rather than who is important and why they’re important. two, it’s not a line in the sand that will ultimately be washed away, it’s an ethic not a rule. there ultimately needs to be more space in our lives; no doubt about it. i choose solid connection every time over just communication.