November 15, 2012
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I was thinking of a semi-technical blog entry this morning, one I particularly like, dealing with really big hard drives. Somehow the idea of having cameras covering every square meter of the Earth recording HD video since the beginning of time is fascinating to me. It’s overwhelming to consider that amount of data. How would you even manage it? Google couldn’t even index that much data.
Scaling the concept back more than just a little, even having one camera recording everything since the time you were born is too much data for one person to manage. When I say “manage”, I really mean “consume”. To consume that video feed in its entirety would require you do nothing but watch it all the time.
As people, we are consumers. We take in information and experiences. Ideally, we use that information to create new content for the rest of the world to consume. I am creating content right now and you are consuming it. It would be nearly impossible to be a 100% consumer.
On some level, it might be depressing to some people that they can’t fulfill their dream of “I want to see it all! I want to experience everything!” Nope, can’t be done. There’s new things all the time and lots of history to learn about as well.
Think about your consumption habits. Coming home from work, where you actually created content in some way, you reverse the flow and consume. Maybe read a book, web pages, watch video clips, TV shows, or listen to music. This is content that someone else created at some point. Maybe you reverse the flow again and create content based on that input: write a letter, converse on Internet forums, call a friend. It’s a natural back-and-forth, like breathing information. But no matter how hard we try, we can’t experience all the information that’s out there.
This is something we need to manage and balance. We only have so much time here and we need to choose carefully what content will best serve our needs and help us create better content of our own.