I am being bombarded with information and it’s totally my own fault.
I wouldn’t mind if this information was useful; most of it isn’t. Most of it is utter rubbish.
The main source of this nonsense is my computer but there is an awful lots being beamed at me via my television screen. It’s almost like a drug that I can’t quite shake off. And believe me, there are people who are far more addicted than I am.
It’s starting to annoy me and, what’s more, my own stupid temptation to indulge in this crap annoys me even more.
You may be wondering what I am talking about. Let me explain.
One of the biggest culprits is Facebook, something I try to avoid, but often just open up to see what’s going on. I don’t know why I do this because the truth is I am not interested at all. Nevertheless, there is a little demon inside me, urging me to have a quick look, in case I am missing out on something.
This concept is known as Fear of Missing Out and it afflicts most people under the age of 40 who have Facebook accounts. Anybody older than that, like me, should probably not ever have an account and should know better. Most of my close friends who are my age think I’m a fool for using Facebook. However, Mrs PM uses this cursed social networking site regularly and often remarks that so-and-so has done such-and-such and that I should take a look.
And then I’m trapped.
I read some banal nonsense about what people are doing and then I see it: the phenomenon known as clickbait, which are basically articles that are like tabloid headlines, sensationalised in such a way that it is difficult to resist clicking the link and reading the story.
The articles usually have been liked by friends or by other things I’ve stupidly liked. The headlines are similar to:
This man saw a woman being attacked. What he did next will ASTOUND you.
So you click the link and end up watching a shaky video with a man taking off his shoes and hurling them at a kid attacking a young woman. A lucky shot caught the kid in his nether regions and he eventually hobbled away.
Another example is:
Ten simple tricks that can save you thousands of dollars.
Eight things you didn’t know about heavy metal music
Twenty facts about cats that will SHOCK you.
A lot of these links are full of advertising and if you are dumb enough to click on them using a smartphone, you end up having to watch a thirty second advert for a product that you have no interest in whatsoever, only to eventually see the main article and curse yourself for wasting the minute it took you to read it.
The truth is that there is no fear of missing out. My only fear is being drawn into hours of reading stupid articles peppered with irritating adverts.
I am absolutely sick of it, but, like an incompetent moth drawn to a flame, I find myself clicking the link subconsciously and wasting yet more time, reading yet more drivel or watching yet another totally pointless video.
I'm a buffoon.
It’s not just Facebook. When I decide to research something for this blog – or anything else I am writing – I find myself drawn to links and, like Alice wandering down an endless rabbit hole, I descend into the bowels of banality, reading pointless information that will have no bearing on my life, will not contribute to my research in any way whatsoever and ultimately will end up in a box in my brain labelled:
Lost Battles in the War Against Procrastination
Another source of this crap are emails. People who actually enjoy dumbing down with clickbait send links to them in emails entitled:
You simply MUST read this.
And being an idiot, I click the link, read it and curse myself once more.
It’s not all bad though. I use the internet constructively sometimes to research information, discover new music and add positivity to my life. I have learned so much by researching facts for my blog and to use in arguments with arses on the message boards I sometimes visit.
I just need to resist the clickbait.
Finally, I blamed my television earlier and I stand by that statement. I am trying my best not to turn into a couch potato but with so many channels available on my telly box, I find myself channel surfing and watching all sorts of rubbish.
I could be outside doing something interesting but instead I’ve spent fifteen minutes watching a show about an old couple who want to buy a house in the south of France, or a documentary about the development of Morris Dancing in Victorian England:
Thankfully, the sensible part of me screams:
"What on EARTH are you DOING?”
and then Bruce Springsteen pops into my head with this song:
It never used to be like this; useless articles that chip away at your very soul, pointless adverts that erase brain cells with their banality or meaningless television programmes that actually lower your IQ as you watch them.
Hopefully, you haven’t stumbled on this blog post as a result of clickbait – and I hope that there wasn’t an advert with the Bruce Springsteen video above. If there was then I apologise for the wasted thirty seconds of your life.
There is just too much information out there, dear reader, and our challenge is to filter out the shit and find the nuggets, just like those old gold prospectors in Wild West. There are gems out there if you know where to look and can resist the temptation to read nonsense.
Anyway, time to wrap up now. I’m off now to do something amazing that will shock you all.
Click here to find out what it is.