Before the advent of the goddamned Internet, it was possible to feel a feeling called "well-informed."
Back then, you read your hometown newspaper. You listened to National Public Radio. You read The Wall Street Journal. You read a trade publication. And you felt, more or less, rightly or wrongly, as if you had a handle on things.
But then the Internet, with all its nooks and crannies, its infinite capacity to contain odd points of view convincingly expressed, its oceanic ability to remind us that our stupid little place in the world is the real cranny, took that feeling away.
Permanently, I thought.
In recent months I notice that the feeling of being informed is creeping cautiously back into my head and heart. And I think I know why: It's Facebook.
Here's how it works now: I do my dilligence—I read the local and national newspapers, I keep up on the communication trade as as I always did—and then I rely on my 368 Facebook Friends to give me a heads-up on the rest of it. I reckon—rather, I passively, subconsciously assume—that if something important is happening that's not in The New York Times, one of these friends or acquaintances or who-is-that-again-half-strangers will point me to it.
A quote, a new song, a YouTube video, a new piece of architecure or writing: I've got hundreds of friends or at least like-minded acquaintances scouring the world every day in hopes of finding something to amuse or inform their like-minded friends. (That's me!)
Knowing this, I begin to feel not only informed but, dangerously, justified in the feeling. And, after all these years of forced informational humility, even deserving of it.
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