Saturday, May 7, 2016

How about some actual people?

I guess it began when I got interested in publications from the Pew Research Center and from the Brookings Institute.  I also get ads and what amounts to adds from Amazon and Roku.  I get notices from Twitter that they suggest I might be interested in getting tweets from these additional people.  None of these messages and quite a few others are written by individual people that I know, have met and who have their own names on the email.  There are several other impersonal, mass emails that I get.  They are generally news of one kind or another, ads from people selling things or notices that I could buy or contribute to this or that business or organization.

I just moved emails from my most recent 100 into a "people" folder, messages from actual people, not organizations or businesses.  Of 100, 21 qualified.  So, about 80% of my recent email was not personal, not from anyone who knows me and usually not very important.

I notice in Google News that the first few items change quite often, usually hourly, but these are the items from the presidential race, wars, natural disasters - what might be considered hot news of interest to many people.  Items further down the web page are more likely to be of interest to specific audiences.  Some of them are in sections I have added to Google News, such as news about particular foreign countries.  In these sections, items with a twist, those with basically no further story might rest unchanged for several days.  I conclude that there is often little or no news I really need to know.  In fact, many of the newsletters and ads and sales and terrific opportunities are merely intrusions into my day.

Teachers of literature have long emphasized that some writing has a good chance of being of value, of enlarging your outlook on life or opening your heart centuries after being written.  Of course, I am not going to know all the authors that matter.  However, it is nice to hear from real people.  I most appreciate hearing or reading messages that matter to the sender, the speaker or writer.  Those are the sorts of messages that have the most power, regardless of the subject, big or little.

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