Information Satiation

Have you ever seen the cut-scene in Secret World for the Illuminati introduction to the Tokyo zone? No? Well, take a minute or two and give it a watch. I’ll wait.

I mean, amazing, right? What’s going on here is that the figurehead of the Illuminati faction, Kirsten Geary (voiced by Kari Wahlgren), is informing the player of their need to head to Kaidan, Tokyo, the fictional location of the ‘filth bomb’ explosion that sets in motion the reaction of Gaia and events portrayed in Secret World, by way of Venice. So Venice first, then Tokyo, which is a pretty big plot location. But did you catch that part in the middle there?

This is the age of information. Stealth is not about hiding; it’s about inundating.

We leak the truth. Then we leak whole zettabytes of other junk. Opposing data, Similar data. Nonsense data. Ad nauseam. Mesmerism by cat memes. Hypnotised. Apathy for the win.

The human brain has only so much bandwidth. Critical thought can actually O.D. on input. Bury the ultimate secret of the universe in the shallow grave of the 5th page of a Google search and no one would ever find it. Cover-ups are so passé.

This was penned by the incomparable Joshua Alan Doetsch and in a word it’s just… Brilliant. Did you catch these thick layers of meaning that solidly attach this to the real world? What makes the fiction we consume so compelling is how much we relate to it. If we can’t relate to it, we can’t make a connection to it, and it passes right through us. But, this? Who *can’t* relate to this?

Give or take a year or two...

Okay, so according to my calculations I should be totally caught up by… 2023.

It just may be that I’m starting to feel the effects of age, but I’m constantly finding it harder and harder to keep up with all of social media. Remember in the early days of Facebook when you could scroll back to the last post you viewed and then catch up quickly with every single thing your friends posted? And I mean every single post? I won’t lie, I’m part of a few Discord channels, as Discord is the new hotness, and I can’t keep up with any of them. I’ve tried. But that’s a LOT of text, most fleeting, and, to quote the above, my brain has only so much bandwidth.

Same goes for Twitter, same for the current version of Facebook, same with Feedly, and the same goes for Discord. There’s just too much. In trying to be as well informed as humanly possible, we hit a staggering wall of data. I remember when I first started getting involved with blogging and keeping up with a whole bunch of blogs and news sites are what helped to keep me informed, but I gave up on reading novels in order to do it. It was the same amount of text and ideas as full-blown novels, but one by multiple authors and multiple topics. I’ve since learned to balance, but still.

After a point we just become satiated. You ever hear or type the same word so much that after a while it stops being a word and just becomes garbled? The world these days just feels… garbled. People are lost, clinging onto what they *hope* is the right information. There is so much out there. From my mother wanting me to read up on hydrolyzed proteins, me trying to figure out what this rash could be from, or the constant stream of world news detailing the horrific events in our current anthropocene extinction epoch. Watching cat videos or seeing pics of bunnies frolicking with a deer end up being truly therapeutic.

“But Ocho,” you may ask. “Aren’t you just adding to the bandwidth?” I am. I totally am. That’s what blogging is all about, after all, adding your individual notes to the constant stream of background noise.

“But… why? Why keep adding to it?” Simply put: Fighting Back. The simple act of creation is sometimes enough to control the tide of information. To coalesce our thoughts and to stake a claim on a thought, to delineate what we know from what we don’t know, and to make a stand for truth.

After all, it’s ‘apathy for the win’, and we can’t just let apathy win without a fight.

 

// Ocho

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The Best Laid Blogs O’ Mice an’ Men

 

Let’s face it. I’m not the most prolific of bloggers. In fact, my last entry here was in… September of 2016?! Wow… I… uhhhh… yeah, that’s embarrassing. So, this Blaugust, headed up once more by the incomparable Belghast, let’s get into reasons WHY this long break has occurred and what you, as a blogger, can do to not make my same mistakes.

The Best Laid Schemes o’ Mice an’ Men

Let’s face it, we’re not perfect. And when it comes to our hobbies, sometimes they have to be waylaid when more important priorities come around. I type this as I look forlornly at my Disc Golf bag and discs sitting near my front door. When your hobbies are not making your family a living, and you need to put food on the table, and caring for your family is a priority, this can be the result as smaller pursuits and hobbies fall off.

When stress levels become so high in your life due to family, your career, etc. you tend to stick close to your primary sources of relieving that stress. For me, that is gaming itself. At the end of the day, it’s nice to kick back and immerse yourself in another world, one without the same stresses and goals and wins are easily attainable. But when the choice came: do I play games to help relieve my stress or do I spend that time writing about games, something that didn’t necessarily help, which was easier to choose? Time and again it became easier to choose that which I *knew* would help me.

The hard part is it’s hard to justify keeping up consistency under these circumstances. When faced with more important life decisions, only the foolish would continue worrying about the ephemera. But this is okay. You have to do what you have to do, and an understanding audience would sympathize, you just can’t expect them to hang around.

Habits are Hard to Force

The key to creating any sort of content, though, and having it reach your audience is: consistency, consistency, consistency. This has shown, time and again, to be one of the biggest paths to success. The music industry is filled with examples of one hit wonders, but the bands we tend to stick with the most are the ones that have kept creating. Our favorite authors have created multiple books, and our favorite Twitch/YouTube creators have plenty of backlog. The same goes with any creative endeavor. It’s not enough to just create, you have to keep it up.

Over the time that I’ve been away from blogging, it’s not like I’ve stopped creating. I’ve become more active on Twitch. I’ve been podcasting on Beyond the Veil, Master Debaters, and have been guests on multiple other casts. My want to create has never subsided, but making blogging a habit has always just been out of my reach.

So how do you force yourself into the habit? Obviously, it’s not impossible. Just look at Belghast, the force behind Blaugust itself. He makes blogging seem as easy as breathing.  According to James Clear, the psychology behind this is a circle of Reminder, Routine, and Reward. Reminding yourself to blog, getting into a routine that makes it easier for you to do so, and then seeing the fruits of your labor. Still, it’s not the easiest of processes.

Stop Beating Yourself Up!!

This is probably the hardest hurdle of all. You’re going to start writing, and feel like you’re yelling into the void. You’ll spend minutes, sometimes hours, pouring over a post, making it as perfect as you can, trying to separate yourself with some view that nobody else has come up with yet. After you post you’ll look up the stats, this big post that you’re especially proud of, that has life-changing wisdom strewn throughout it… and it only has 5 views. 4 of which are from Turkmenistan with the comments filled with  Rayban sunglasses spam.

I’ve beat myself up many times over this. Where I think I’ve made some poignant view, filled with wisdom and would be relatable for everyone, and then nobody sees it. See what are currently my most popular posts? A list of Skyrim mods, a look at the EA references made throughout Ultima VII, a post about having to switch to a flip phone for a week. The reality is that the best content you’re going to create, at least in your mind, will not be what others will gravitate towards.

In the end, you have to be happy just in the act of creating. When Twitch streaming, try not to look at those viewer numbers. When blogging, try not to focus on those hits. When podcasting, try not to worry about that blank space. They’re not always going to be nice. Hold onto those times when you get that “hey, this streamer is amazing” tweet, or that “this post has inspired me to post about this myself”. Let those be your fuel to keep going.

You Can Do It!

It can be hard, though, when you’re removed off that blogroll for not posting for a while because work stress has bogged you down, or when you see someone post about streamers they enjoy and you’re not a part of the list as you had to take time off from sickness, or simply when those that you’ve respected don’t reciprocate that respect. These have all happened to me, recently even, and it feels like you’re being kicked when you’re down.

Down, though, is the best place to start. Or, like Blaugust Reborn itself, the best place to pick yourself up and reinvent yourself. To attempt again to create that habit, to attempt to not let setbacks and negative reactions get the better of you.

I’ve done it, and I have failed, and I have done it again. Nobody but you can dictate how many times you pick yourself up and try again. Hold on to those reasons why you’ve decided to start in the first place, because they’ll be the same reasons why you pick yourself up, and why you keep going after the kicks.

You got this. You can do it.

 

// Ocho