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"The capital of Maine is Concord," says daughter #1.
"You're wrong, it's Augusta," counters daughter #2.
And here we are at the family dinner table. The kids have found something else to argue over. Of course, my next thought should be how a thoughtful parent would handle this potential brouhaha.
But I think of pulling out my phone to look up the answer.
If this is a novelty now (50% of Americans own a Smartphone, aka, instant access to the Internet), I can only imagine what it will be like in a generation. We have so much information at our fingertips now that the Oxford English Dictionary debuted the term "information fatigue" in 2009.
With so many computers, we can answer questions quickly. And moving away from settling a dinner table argument, and my skills as a parent, these facts are overloading our personal decision engines (brains). We have so many facts we can simply look up instantly (which plane fare is cheaper? What year was the light bulb invented? What's my favorite Paul Newman film? and so on), that we're stifled when it comes to making actual decisions.
This was the genesis of Sharon Begley's cover story in Newsweek last month.
OneNote helped me manage this information fatigue on a recent family vacation. During the planning phase (weeks before we actually left), every few days I'd find some other destination I wanted to visit and I'd paste it into OneNote. So did other family members. The process could have been endless, but just as I used to with college research papers, at some point I stopped the mad searching for more possibilities and started working through what we'd already collected in our OneNote notebook--deciding what would make the cut. Did I miss a few coupons? Probably. Some other "secret find" in a recent article that I could have used? No doubt.. But it didn't matter because I narrowed my field of vision to what I could focus on.
The vacation went well. Very well indeed.
I kept the phone in my pocket and settled the kids down.
And, in case you didn't look it up while reading this post, the capital of Maine is Augusta.