I see everything twice

Without warning, the patient sat up in bed and shouted,

“I see everything twice!”

A nurse screamed and an orderly fainted. Doctors came running up from every direction with needles, lights, tubes, rubber mallets and oscillating metal tines. … A colonel with a large forehead and horn-rimmed glasses soon arrived at a diagnosis.

“It’s meningitis information overload,” he called out emphatically, waving the others back. “Although Lord knows there’s not the slightest reason for thinking so.”

OK, I changed the diagnosis, but otherwise that’s all from my 1961 copy of Catch-22. Chapter 18. The price on the cover is 75 cents. Retail paperback, not used or thrift store. I think the original owner was my Dad, and I remember being told to stay out of the book when I was little. Maybe it’s got some naughty bits, maybe Dad thought it was too weird, I wouldn’t understand it.

Come to think of it, maybe it wasn’t Catch-22 that was Taboo. Maybe it was a Joseph Wambaugh novel. The Blue Knight or something. Doesn’t matter

Today I don’t understand why we’re subjecting ourselves – willingly, hungrily – to so much information overload. It’s making us stupid. Don’t believe me? Well, I’m getting distracted by the message count on my Google Buzz, so I’ll let this funny guy make my point.

That’s a pretty good catch, that Catch-22, and that’s a pretty good trick, seeing everything twice. I’ve been doing it a lot lately, on Buzz and Facebook.

It has been suggested on Google Buzz that Buzz is the thinking person’s Facebook. No Farmville! is the battle cry. But Buzz users are re-posting their Buzz posts on Facebook, to reach the rest of their readership. So I’m seeing everything twice. A new surrealism for the digital age.

How many networking tools do we need? None. Well, at most I need 2: One for fun and friends, one for professional contacts. I use Facebook and Linkedin, respectively.

Google Buzz is only worth keeping, even sitting there in my Gmail interface, if the content it offers is unique. If I’m just seeing the same content I’ve already seen somewhere else, what’s the point? It’s a waste of time.

So if we’re going to do the Buzz thing, can we make a pact? Keep the content there unique?  Otherwise, Buzz truly is redundant and superfluous. 

"You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You’re dangerous and depraved, and you ought to be taken outside and shot!"
Catch-22, Chapter 27