Less informed in the information age

I dropped into Ceol one recent Saturday to have a pint and listen to Gabe Plank and Doyle Stewart play some Irish tunes. I’d only known they were playing because my husband happened across the event on Facebook that afternoon.  

When he mentioned it, my first thought was that, 10 years ago, it would have been close to impossible for someone who pays as much attention to local culture as I do to not know who was playing at a popular bar on a Saturday night. 

The internet as we know it has been around for 30 years, since the early 1990s. Back then, tech boosters were bursting with pronouncements about how we would all thrive in the digital “public square” and be better connected with the world. 

In some ways, that has happened. A lot of voices are being heard that were not being heard pre-internet. On the other hand, now that the tech industry has converted our attention and our personal data into valuable commodities, my email inboxes are flooded with spam; my social media feeds are cluttered with algorithm-generated noise; and I sometimes miss the information that I actually do want to access—like which fiddle/guitar duo is appearing at which local pub. 

The art, music and other cultural output that our region produces isn’t just fluff. It amplifies people’s voices, opinions and insights and does a lot to contribute to healthy discourse. That’s why I care about trying to help people cut through the digital noise and stay informed about it.  

This month, there are two things that can help you reconnect with the real world. 

One: It’s finally summertime—the easiest time to connect with the local culture scene IRL. Just choose your nearest walkable neighborhood, or pick your favorite festival. 

Two: In this issue, you’ll find our Summer Guide, with lots of advice on where to go and what to do.  

Hope to see you out and about this summer!