Screw Realtime

What do you get when you combine a fire hose of information with ever more sophisticated monitoring tools? In theory, you’d think that the answer is greater signal through all of the noise. But the insane ease of publishing everything from eBooks to blog posts and tweets has brought us to the point where it becomes difficult to see beyond the here and now.

The power and opportunity that comes from setting your sights on the bleeding edge are obvious enough. Being “in the know” is a commodity, especially at a time where people are terrified of getting left behind. It’s certainly alluring, but spend enough time focusing on what’s happening now and inevitably it just becomes a way to avoid what’s really important.

When you are always living in the moment, you’re simply commenting. It’s impossible (or at least improbable) that anyone can manage to properly process all that we take in, even with all of the tools at our disposal. So take the time to examine, take the time to think, take the time to separate what matters from what’s just happening.

Figure out what really resonates with you and focus on it. Take a week before you talk about that new hot thing (or anything for that matter). Look for the shiny objects that consistently take you off your path and eliminate them from your view. Don’t go crazy, realtime will often play a role in whatever your working on. Use the tools, but don’t let them pave the way.

Realtime has tremendous value, but it loses it entirely once it becomes an obsession. Just because you can live on that razor’s edge of now, doesn’t mean you should. Unless you are reporting the news or working in customer service, focus on something larger and more important rather than whatever pile of crap landed in front of your eyeballs today. Chances are, the most meaningful thing in your world isn’t happening right now.

Find yourself obsessed with what’s going to happen next or do you you take a broader view of what’s important? In a world where it has become so easy to listen, how do you hear?

9 Responses to Screw Realtime

  1. Couldn’t agree more! Anytime a story hits, it’s a race to see who can tweet it/fb it/+1/blog it faster. I usually like to wait a few days so I can gather more information and create a meaningful response not “wow, look at what happened!”

    • I’m the same way, most of the contextual posts on this site are often a few weeks old. Sometimes I’ll jump on something, but more often than not I want to let something marinate.

  2. I agree, real time is important for those who follow the news but the true insights, deep analysis and getting to the root can only come from time set a side for reflection and pondering. Time often times makes us think about different aspects of stories or events which we are likely to miss in the heat of the moment. I’m sure there would be a lot less grief if we took time and consider our responses/actions.

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