Is there a certain point we reach in this technological era where we become so over-saturated with information that we become "blinded" to what's really important? And by "really important" I mean living our lives. Sure, I love coding for hours on end or posting tweets till my fingers go numb, but at the end of the day, or our lives for that matter, will we be pleased with what we've accomplished? Maybe I'm thinking too far ahead here. Maybe the work we're doing now in the age of the internet will reap great rewards in the future. I don't know. But one thing that scares me is the amount of information we're expected to keep up with. Sure things like RSS readers and Twitter are helpful. But when is it all too much? At what point do we overload? I know lately I've felt burdened by this thought. Feeling like I have to keep up with this rat race of information only makes me feel less and less apart of reality.
When I go home at night and spend time with my wife and two dogs, this is what reality looks like.
But I understand why some people build their whole lives online. Look at me for example. If it weren't for the internet I would not have met my wife. And I would not be celebrating three wonderful years of marriage this year. But I also currently socialize online at more than ten different locations and spend all day on twitter talking to friends both far and near. Not to mention the amount of time I spend working on this website. Then factor in all the incalculable hours I spend thinking about new ideas for my blog, or new designs for work. Sharing our lives online has become the new standard. If you don't have a myspace or facebook or your own blog then you're considered out of touch with reality. Am I missing something?
I saw a movie a couple of weeks ago where people all of a sudden went blind, not in the Ray Charles sort of way, but they could only see bright white (a mixture of all colors in the light spectrum). The movie is based off the novel "Ensaio Sobre a Cegueira" (literally "Essay About Blindness") by Portuguese author José Saramago. It had really beautiful cinematography, but that's not the point. Throughout the movie I asked myself, "what would I do if I suddenly went blind?" I mean with so much of my life dependent on a computer, it was semi-frightening to think about. How would I go on? (And please don't say screen readers.) But thinking like that is silly right? I mean it's pretty unrealistic to think I'll wake up one day and be blind. However, examining our lives and the value of what we do and whether or not it's relevant to reality I think IS a valid question to ask ourselves.
Please don't mistake me here though, I love what I do. Being able to create an image or a brand for someone that represents who they are in colors and shapes is what gets my heart pumping. My desire though is to see the design community, as a whole, think for themselves and not just follow "blindly" those who are already well established. We each have a voice/design of our own and that's what the world needs. Not just more cookie-cutter/assembly-line design. So how do we do this? I'm not exactly sure. But I think stepping outside our comfort zones and unplugging from the overload of information once in a while is a great place to start.
We need to be a part of reality in order to put something real back in our designs.
I'd love to hear what you think about the information overload in today's world or how you think we as designers can break away from the cookie-cutter way of life.