Headlines, breaking news, juicy rumors, the buzz, trending now, fake news… blah blah blah, whatever and so on. What grabs our attention and defines our conversation, is it truly important?
Don’t get me wrong, keeping up with the news is vital, and knowing what’s going on in the larger world around us is a treasured gift of the internet. Connectedness has brought us heroic and inspiring stories we otherwise would know nothing of, while also exposing scandal and criminality, and that exposure can push back the darkness. And surely, there is news that is newsworthy. July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence; August 14, 1945, Japan Surrenders, WWII Ended; Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. Attacked!
But let’s be honest, in percentages, how much of our attention is focused on the heroic and redeeming compared to chatter and drivel? Too often we are captivated by trivialities, with only a fleeting inspiration by what matters truly, deeply and lastingly. I think of some of my own noshing on mental junk food and taste regret. Sure, there are times to chill, unplug and let the big stuff go to enjoy the recharge of leisure; being uptight all the time creates what I call ‘commitment fatigue’, which actually works against whatever cause we champion.
However, have you ever had that moment of hearing about some person or event, and in bewilderment asking ‘Why isn't everyone talking about this? Why isn’t this headline news’? Or, recalling a story that this morning was the biggest, baddest, most important piece of news in the history of humankind, only to be replaced by the afternoon with this new biggest, baddest most important news in history? Makes one wonder - where’s the stuff that really matters, and how does one keep that at top of mind?
Let’s practice some filtering. On our social media, our consumption of ‘news’, with our intake in the Age of Information, let’s up the percentages of what really matters, and lower the percentages of what’s ‘interesting’. What’s interesting and what’s important are often not the same thing.