It is often said that we live in the Information Age, primarily because of the internet. And that's a fair enough statement - there is so much knowledge that we now have access to because of online resources. When we forget how to spell a word, Google isn't too far away to correct our spelling as needed. When we forgot which actor it is was in that particular movie, we can check out sites like IMDb to help us out. We can get movie schedules, the status of airline flights or just the current population of Metro Manila all because of a single internet search.
But that's not the biggest revelation that the Information Age has provided really. Before the internet we still had dictionaries and encyclopedias to help fill in basic knowledge gap at least for folks who had the patience to read. But the truly new sources of information out there are social networks that tell us more about other people than any single in-person meet-up could. Access to the social media feeds of our friends, families and even complete strangers tell us so many random things.
Sure, some of the information that we now have access to are trivial like what they ate or where they plan to go for the summer. But amid the trash and the white noise are interesting factoids and little snippets of information that we would probably never know unless we might one day think to ask them. There is a lot you can learn about a person based on what they share online.
I often joke that I try to read Facebook profiles like tea leaves - at least to determine whether they're gay or not. A careful read-through of a person's Likes and interests can tell you a lot about that person and whether or not there might be something worth exploring. Outside of gaydar, profile analysis is still an interesting way to dive deep into what makes a person tick. And that's part of the brilliance of social media.
We have more information than we could ever possibly need. It just becomes a question of how we intend to use this knowledge.