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Recently I had a very strong thought about preventing myself from using the Internet. I found that I knew too many things - from daily news to facebook, twitter, and all kinds of garbage information that made my emotions unstable and made me unable to focus my attention. I like to read them, but they are too much and I don't think they are really useful.

Here are some examples of other individuals who don't use the Internet (or are even anti-social in the real world):

  • Donald Knuth, a computer scientist and winner of the Turing Award. He was one of the first people who used the Email system in 1980s. But he announced to disable his email address in 1990s. He is one of the most successful computer scientist in this world.

  • Shu Wang, a Chinese architecture, the winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. He never used the Internet - or a computer. He simply designed blueprints in pencil and paid his students to digitize them.

I am a very young computer & robotics scientist. My job is to read papers, to think, to test, and to write papers. I love my job and I want to focus on it. More and more I realize that I don't need as much information as the Internet supplies me with each day. But my friends told me that if I don't use the Internet, I will fall behind the age and the world.

What's your opinion? Do you think it's useful to get that much information? Thank you in advance.

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You might read a book called The information Diet by Clay Johnson – HLGEM Jul 2 '12 at 20:46
LInk to book mentioned above:… – HLGEM Jul 3 '12 at 15:20
@HLGEM Thanks for it! – Skyler Jul 3 '12 at 16:58
@wanderingscribe Thanks for your editing:-) – Skyler Jul 3 '12 at 16:59
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Use the Internet but use it mindfully. It's like eating food, you can get your calories from junk food or healthy food. You have to be disciminating about which ckind of food you put into your body and which kind of information you put into your head. All things on the Internet are not correct or useful. Many sites are extremely biased. Try to get a wel-rounded exposure to information that is useful to you and avoid the places that are just "empty calories". Limit your time to no more an 1-2 hours per day if you feel you are wasting time just playing games on Facebook or other such junk food.

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It is definitely useful to be able to get the information you need, however you need to place constraints, as there is much more information posted on the Internet each day than a single individual can take in.

If you tailor RSS feeds, memberships of sites and news/user groups to the subjects which you are interested in, or that will impact your career/life, you will find you can limit the input to that which is digestible.

Many people use a tailored iGoogle page (or similar portal) to present them with a summary page with headlines from the key information sources each time they log on. I use this in conjunction with a heavily tailored RSS feed with various categories of input that I can check daily, weekly etc.

My industry does involve computers and the internet quite heavily and is a very rapidly changing industry, so there are certain key requirements I need daily. If your industry moves more slowly, you may not need so much information but I still wouldn't cut yourself off from the largest source of searchable information in existence.

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"...get the information you need...". Exactly. And be very careful how you define "need". – Dennis S. Jul 3 '12 at 17:28

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