Who Do You Listen To?

image by Erik Dungan
image by Erik Dungan

Who do you let in? These days we have lots of options for who and what we listen to. We can opt to experience constant input at every moment, via the television, radio, internet, cable, social media, on our phones, in our cars, even–yes, I confess, I’ve done it more than once–glancing at things online on our phone in the bathroom.

What I notice is that there is so much input that I have to tune most of it out in order to focus on my life–my kid, my work, the tasks that I need to accomplish on any given day–and then a week or two can sometimes go by and I’ll find myself wondering “what’s going on in the world?” There is so much input and channels of communication that we are initially overwhelmed, so we screen out what we take in–and then feel actually more disconnected than connected.

Have you experienced this? I am regularly trying to take myself off of e-mail lists, but I must also be adding myself to new lists that are of interest to me, because somehow I seem to be getting plenty of e-mail, and it’s not all spam. It’s still not as personal or individual as I would like it to be. Do you scan through your e-mail inbox, as I do, looking for that occasional e-mail message that’s actually individually written to me specifically, Heather, the human being, from another human being, not an automatically generated “Dear Heather” robo-email?

I wonder if it’s why more and more people are turning to texting; at least for me, the robots have not taken over my cell phone inbox yet (please, don’t spread the word about this!) My sister sends a “how are you?” text now-and-then, and I love that (see, Jenna, I do get & read them!) Texting is doable for me while standing in the grocery store aisle or hanging out at the playground with my kiddo. A little bit of texting. But what about the larger world? Our local paper here in Hartford, Connecticut, barely seems to cover national and international news, at least not in a way that really catches my sustained interest and engages in in-depth analysis. While writing this blog post I was reminded of a site I haven’t visited in ages, but would like to go to much more often: Common Dreams.org. Here I can find a little bit more of the broad view–not only what’s been happening this week, but what it means in the context of our larger human endeavor as people on a shared planet.

I genuinely have this question a lot these days: what are the forms of input that you are finding meaningful, useful, reliable, and helpful, for you, in terms of sorting through all the white noise? With so many ways to connect, which ways are the ones that enable us, as human beings, to actually be more connected?

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