Monday, June 07, 2004

Information Overload

So, information is pretty ubiquitous nowadays. You hear about a topic on the radio, or even just think of some random thought, and head straight for the internet. You type in the thing you are interested in, and voila – you are bound to find just what you are looking for. Or, you find something else interesting and start the whole process over again.

My husband and I were discussing the remarkable change in obtaining information that has taken place over the last few years, mainly attributed to the internet. Imagine you familiarity with the internet ten, or even five years ago, and what it is like today. Did you know Google (and probably other search engines) look through over 4 billion pages of information? And then that the results are delivered to your computer screen in a few seconds (unless you are still stuck with dial up – how year 2000 of you), it’s mind-boggling. I know…this is nothing new. It’s just one of those things that you take for granted, and then you sit back and think about it and say whoa.

The other reason I am blogging about this topic is to discuss the evolution in obtaining information. Books, music, movies, computer software – all have a hefty price tag to pay for not just the item itself, packaging, etc., but also the ideas behind the media. However, though I don’t use them myself, I know you can download copies of all these things for free off the internet. Now, I’m not arguing right or wrong, but just that information is just hanging out there like low-hanging fruit for the taking.

Here’s where I put on the philosopher’s cap. If all information were made available free of charge, how would the people/organizations that originated the ideas be compensated? Could ideas be swapped, similar to a barter system for goods/services? Should information be free for all to use? Regardless, I for one appreciate the information people have posted for use free of charge (thanks, bluebuddies, for chronicling the names of all the Smurfs), and hope that maybe someday, someone will run across my blog and find something useful here as well.

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