27 October 2010

Everyone's a Critic

So, I was listening to the Nerdist podacst a while back, and the host came up with a great observation.  With the invention of sites like Twitter, Facebook ,and even good old Blogger, people are free to jump all over something and criticize in little soundbites.

On this blog I try to temper immediate feelings and really get a good rant going against someone or something that happens to Crush my Cheetos.  ("Crush my Cheetos"?  Think it will catch on like "Grind my Gears"?  Highly unlikely since I don't have a TV show.)  There is some effort given to make a structured case with examples to support the conclusion after a logical analysis of the situation.  Space is not an issue on a blog post, but time is a factor.  That's why some posts come in bunches, you need time to make a good post and think about what you want to say.

Compare this to Twitter and Facebook status updates.  Many people use these services exclusively on their mobile device.  There is an instant capture of judgement where praise or blame is foisted upon the Interweb for all to see.  There are a bunch of things going on in that instant, let's break them down:

1) A new idea is presented. There is nothing new under the sun.  If something is TOTALLY new we would not be able to relate to that thing.  There has to be some commonality to human experience for us to interpret a thing.  Some of us like the new thing, some don't, based upon our immediate interpretation of what the thing presents to us as similar to our past experience. 

2) People make a judgement about the thing based on their first perception and immediate feelings.

3) Conceit.  People somehow decide they have to let that first-cut interpretation based on feelings be shared with the world!

4) The complex chain of events involving memory, physical stimuli, and cognitive processes gets transmitted after being distilled to 140 characters or less.

5) The substance of those 140 characters, regardless of the words used, boil down to "Yay!" or "Boo!".

Where is the chance for reasoned debate?  Where is the cooling off period so our rational faculties can temper the heat of immediate sense perception?  It is lost.  It is lost once our "Yay!" or "Boo!" decision is made public.  It is a rare breed of person that will easily recant their immediate position.  By making that first snap decision, it helps ground your future mindset on the issue, thing, movie, advertisement, youtube clip, website, etc.  The position you hold first is the hardest one to change, so why jump to it so quickly?

Give your thoughts time to breath!  In a world where everyone is not only a critic, but an instant critic broadcasting for a global audience, DON'T BE SUCKED IN BY THE FIRST OPINION THAT IS SCREAMED AT YOU THE LOUDEST!! 

You have a mind, you have rationality, you have the forum; use them correctly and let's try to tone down the debate volume and turn up our capacity for free thought and open minds.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We should definitely stop to think through what we see and the feedback from other people. Consider this article and think about how bad it can get:
<a href="http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/02/attentionlost/>Digital Overload is Frying our Brains</a>.

I'll just quote this excerpt from the above story:

"Dark ages are times of forgetting, when the advancements of the past are underutilized. If we forget how to use our powers of deep focus, we’ll depend more on black-and-white thinking, on surface ideas, on surface relationships. That breeds a tremendous potential for tyranny and misunderstanding. The possibility of an attention-deficient future society is very sobering."


- Dom