In just one sitting of my daily required reading of the too-many-things-I-subscribe-to-that-come-into-my-inbox-every-morning, I came across bylined opinions with the following headlines (keywords removed to protect the guilty):
3 surprising ... lessons
5 keys to landing ...
Three reasons to ...
A Dozen Things to Think About ...
Four Missed Opportunities ...
Since when did the online ad trades turn into the Reader's Digest? Every problem, no matter how intractable in reality, is boiled down to a few seemingly simply steps to complete resolution. No muss, no fuss -- all you have to do is smack yourself in the forehead and declare: "WHY didn't I think of that?" and your problems evaporate.
Perhaps little checklists are a function of the Internet itself. You know that place where constant movement from task to task undermines our ability to focus or think deeply about anything. So even though we are, according to some experts, awash in more facts and figures than ever before, we can't mentally digest them or retain them long enough to get any smarter. We have become that boring dinner guest who opines at length about every book mentioned, but is later found out to have read none of them.
What to do? We are all addicted to the here and now and would rather check our Blackberrys than listen to presentations or even talk at dinner to our kids (who are too busy texting to talk to us anyway.) I know, let's make a list!
Ten Ways To Make Life on the Internet Better
1) Never, ever read anything that has a number in the headline
2) Do not waste time trying to find the photo that offended the celebrity: it is NEVER worth the effort and is part of a publicity ploy anyway
3) When someone sends you a link to a video, stop and consider the source. Nine times out of ten, it won't be worth watching anyway.
4) Do not Friend anyone -- Link In to them or otherwise try to establish a purely electronic relationship. If you don't talk to this person at least once a month on the phone (you can actually make a call on the mobile device where you text and get e mail, you just need to search for the right button) or have a beer with them, ignore them.
5) Never enter a chat room. Nothing good can come of it.
6) DO NOT send an email wishing your mother a happy birthday. Get off your ass and get a Hallmark.
7) Never forward an email to "all of your friends." Most of the time they don't care about the same causes you do and if it is a virus warning, it was declared a hoax three years ago when it first appeared.
8) Do not fight your battles in the anonymous comments sections that follow nearly every story. Especially don't disparage another commenter. It debases us all. Like your grammy used to say: "If you can't say something nice...."
9) Once you open Word, stay there until the doc is done. Do not keep checking e mail and the stock market. You will never finish and what you produce will be a jumbled mess.
10) Stay out of Facebook. Nothing good happens there. Except on your birthday.