Sunday, March 27, 2016

Ignore, please.

I recently read a book by Dave Gorman - Too Much Information, where the author talks of the many places in the modern age where there is just "too much" thrown at your face - in print, digital, television etc - in advertisements, music, branding, marketing etc. The idea, under the layer of their primary reasons, is that with more information thrown at you, the less likely you will find the truth.

We are also prey to other kinds of excess. We live in an age that reeks of social media, in one form or another. Every app that you download on your mobile phone wants access to all the information stored on your phone. Every place you shop wants you to sign up with them - email, phone, address, age, favourite cartoon. Social media platforms want to know your date of birth, place of birth, birth marks, star sign, favourite cartoon. I love The Popeye Show to bits, but I don't want to share that with "everybody" everybody.


The worst kind of excess is when you are on one of those social media, and let's say you are active on it. You are bombarded with so many things, SO so many things, that you are overwhelmed with what is going around in the world. I don't have a problem with this. These are the people we chose to hear from. There is a sense of being slightly left out, sometimes, in not knowing what other people are talking about - and you have to watch videos and read blogs to figure out what it is. I have a problem with this.

We are all unique (just like everyone else. tee hee). So, why not just be so. I have my set of likes and dislikes and I would love to stay in my cocoon and be respected for it. I sure should not feel any peer pressure to try to everything that others are doing, this is not a rat race, this shouldn't be a rat race. So, I am very sorry I don't have an opinion on who should win the USA election (definitely not Trump, though), who enraged whom in the parliament, or the other accident that took place on the highway somewhere in some place. They are all important, to some people, at some point of time; but not totality. I can only be an expert or knowledgeable in just so many subjects.

There is a sense of discomfort, anger too, when someone does not replicate interests. There are no healthy competitions anymore, no discussions - just violent, vocal arguments. Like a stand-up comedian put up on a video blog, "If I say I am a dog person, I get comments 'F*** you, you cat hater.'" I always wake up to one horde brandishing a media entity over something that they said 5 years ago, or calling names over a politician. I am not saying the target is innocent, but there are methods. Maybe?

With the tools of social media, one can be as authoritative as their keyboard and internet space can allow them to be. We are probably yet to define ethics and etiquette for such media of communication. (I know for a fact that I am not the same person in reality, as I seem on such online media, however hard I try to.) What you write on, say, twitter, gets interpreted in 10 different ways and you have 2 people supporting you, 4 people calling you names, 2 thinking you are an idiot and the others ignoring your presence. There is no way you can say anything diplomatic here, ask Harsha Bhogle. You may show respect to women, or look like you were being cheesy - depends on how one sees it.

A bit of the same also carries over to life offline, too. People tend to get flak for being different, doing different, liking different. If you love what you do, some of this can be tolerated and ignored. The "different" factor is what is going to separate you from the run-of-the-mill kind. Twitter was overwhelming at first because there were so many kind of people I didn't know about (which is kind of hard to come across offline). Respecting others for their uniqueness is the least you can do to bond, and maybe both of you will benefit from it some day. That's better than trying to enforce your idea on another('s).

I choose to ignore as much noise as I can. If you have cute cat videos, something to do with sports, or something nice to try out in the kitchen, or maybe even a movie, I am all ears. Else, I would prefer to recline into my seat, read the book in hand (it helps, because I am a very slow reader) while you try to finish your cacophony. If you choose to decipher that as arrogance, sure you can - I am going to ignore that too.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to change you is the greatest accomplishment.
- Ralphy Waldo Emerson, essayist