saturation

Today was a very long day. We had our governance day for Leadership Montgomery and spent the day with Allison Black Cornelius engaging in leadership development. While much of it was repeated information from years of OD/LD training, I loved the day. Allison, I’ve decided, is my new spirit animal. She is engaging, courageous, loves Nick Saban, and curses like a sailor. Therefore, we are either twins or best friends. 🙂

But at one point, we spent a few seconds talking about information overload and the word “saturation” was used. YES. That is the perfect word for it. We are saturated with information. We can’t escape it. (Unless we live in a yurt off the grid in Montana.) We start our days with the glow of the screen and can’t get away from the immediacy of our accounts and updates. It is exhausting and it is killing us–as a society and as individuals.

My favorite, Andrew Sullivan, has recently emerged from his self-imposed technology exile and tells his tale of media saturation in New York Magazine.  (An article I found via this interesting take in the NYT.) I found myself relating to him in so many ways but also feeling afraid. What would happen if I truly stopped or created legit balance in my life when it comes to technology. What would happen if I stayed away from facebook for one day or didn’t check my email every 5 minutes? Would the world keep turning? Would people be upset with me?

I am less worried about FOMO and more worried about disappointing people who have come to expect immediate response. AND YET, I know that the work I do, 99.9% of the time is not life-death. (Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE MY WORK but yet, I am not a first responder or a world leader, so I know that 99.9% of the time, no one is in danger in if I don’t respond immediately.)  So is it ok for me to put the phone away? Is it really ok for me to be present? 

I don’t have the answer but I can’t help but hope that we will reach a tipping point in our society and realize that our lives cannot be fully lived on a four-inch screen. We need to create balance. We need to take a break. And it will only be with a courageous critical mass saying “chill out and walk away from the instagram” that we will find a contentment in actually doing so.

On that note, this five minute free write ends and I will shut off my screens. Sleep tight!

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