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Millennial Life: When Information Isn't the News

Cassie McClure on

The alert on my phone tells me that my package is seven stops away. Clicking into the app, there's a little outline of a truck, but what pulled up was a white sedan, someone's personal car with a few years and more than a few miles on it.

I'm of two minds. Sure, if you're in a neighborhood where you might question whether your package will still be there when you get home, and you happen to be in range, this seems useful. But if you're not, it feels like micromanaging an employee I didn't know I even hired. The car also reminded me that sometimes, a constant influx of information, updates, and notifications doesn't always deliver what we expect, and the need for instant gratification -- particularly in being the first to know the truth of a situation -- can often lead us down unexpected paths.

While I was writing this, another alert popped up. The UK's Princess Catherine released a statement about her surgery where cancer was discovered. Here we all were in our theories, distracting us from the doomscrolling. Depending on my blood sugar, I pulled for the growing out bangs theory or midlife crisis. I related to those more than the more morbid versions.

But in just a few weeks, authorities on these theories were established which almost took on a life of their own.

What was interesting to me, as someone who enjoys watching the optics of situations play out (because everything is communication!), was how little awareness of incorrect information spreading eroded trust that was collected, curated, and maintained for years. Maybe the queen was much more in the approval process of public relations than we thought, because it's currently a hot mess across the pond.

Speaking of which, I have a bit of schadenfreude. It shouldn't just be us wily colonies with the strange conspiracy theories.

 

As we're confronted by ungrounded theories, and, in many places, we live in news deserts where local news has been driven down to one or two frazzled reporters, how we find and trust information will need to be a skill we train. We are inundated with a ceaseless stream of data, bombarded by notifications that demand our attention and beckon us to stay perpetually connected, but we're not any more informed. Constant knowledge consumption does not always lead to enlightenment.

There is a difference between information and wisdom, between the superficial satisfaction of instant updates and the deeper understanding that comes from introspection and contemplation. Being more glib about it, I'm reminded of this quote: "Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing that you don't put it in a fruit salad."

In our relentless pursuit of information, we must not lose sight of the importance of discernment, critical thinking, and the ability to navigate the vast sea of information that is dumped in our laps. We'll see what lessons the crown takes away from this debacle, but the lesson I'll take is that I'll never attempt to photoshop a portrait of me and my kids.

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Cassie McClure is a writer, millennial, and unapologetic fan of the Oxford comma. She can be contacted at cassie@mcclurepublications.com. To find out more about Cassie McClure and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate Inc.

 

 

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