It is one thing to research, but it is another to retain the information that you are reading. It is a random thought that came to me while lying in bed the other night. I feel I am one of the perfect examples of this. I try to absorb quite a large amount of research on a daily basis. I am constantly reading books, research papers, newspaper articles and websites to help put together the articles I write. I often have several on the go and that doesn’t include the separate articles I work on for Haunted Magazine or other submissions. Some might expect me to be a walking encyclopedia of information, but it is actually quite the opposite. For me anyway, it is impossible to retain a lot of the intricacies of this information. While I will know certain information about topics I have researched and written about, if you need specific information such as a date or even the spelling of a person’s name, my memory tends to fail me. Whenever someone wants to interview me, I always ask which topics they want to discuss so I can properly prepare. While I can talk about any paranormal topic, again if you want to provide specific examples beyond a general conversation on the topic, I need to make notes so I get it right. For me, it is important that the information I put out there is accurate. I realised how much I rely on my blog to be that catalogue of information for myself. In a lot of ways, it is my life’s work and contribution to the paranormal field.
It then made me think about the paranormal field and its relationship with social media a little differently. I think we can all agree that the scope and even the audience of the paranormal field have changed quite significantly. There is a much larger social media presence and I have sort of thought to myself at times that it in a lot of ways it seems like it is more about content creation rather than research. But in reality, they actually work hand in hand. Take my blog as an example. This is a form of content creation. I meticulously go through my research to try and present well-balanced and well-researched articles on topics that I find interesting. I have a research directory link tree which is really just there to serve as my own personal library that makes it easier for me to re-visit certain books and papers. The information is all out there ready to read. Instead of retaining that information in my head, it is retained via my website.
I think in general the rise of google and smartphones and just having the internet at our fingertips has been detrimental to our memory. We don’t need to necessarily retain information anymore because we have the internet which makes it easy to just look something up. I do sort of miss the conversations you would have with people where you want to remember the name of a movie or a song and you would spend all night racking your brain trying to remember. Sometimes at the oddest moment (usually lying in bed) that information would come to you and it would bring excitement and satisfaction that we actually used our brains. Now we just use IMDB or shazam to identify the song.
Is the internet making us dumb?
There is a widespread debate on this.
Whether the Internet is “making us stupid” is widely debated. Some argue the Internet is reprogramming our brains for the worse, as seen by diminishing IQ scores, and that new technologies and platforms like the Internet are harming attention spams, the ability to concentrate, and perform simple tasks. Others argue that virtually all new technologies throughout history have been initially feared, that the Internet gives voice to diverse populations and equal access to information for the benefit of social advancement, and that changing how the brain works and how we access and process information is not necessarily bad.
As someone who grew up without the internet and smart phones, I can certainly see why there is such a strong argument for this as I see the difference in my childhood compared to my kids. I do try to embrace what I can, but sometimes the old person in me does come out. I have been an active member of the paranormal field for about 10 years now and I have seen its rise happen in real-time through social media. Now more than ever there is more information out there, on more platforms and more and more people presenting information in different ways. What is old is new again and I personally follow so many accounts that help keep our history alive. This is important. If we were not doing that, in about 20 years a lot of this information would be lost. Sure of course there are books, but the next generations are not necessarily going to be reading books as much because they are taught to use google from a young age. Instead of fighting against this, we need to learn to embrace it and in fact share our own stories and information with the World. So while there are some social media accounts that maybe don’t do this in a genuine way or are more interested in the perks of having a public profile, there are still a really large amount of people who work really hard to bring information to the masses. This information once on the internet has a permanent home and this in a lot of ways is a good thing. Even with the invention of reels and tik tok (something I tried but just isn’t for me), again they are presenting information in an entertaining and informative way to a different audience which then sparks their interest in the paranormal. Just because an approach is different to our own doesn’t make it wrong, it just makes it different and that is why the paranormal field needs to progress….. different. If we were all the same and thought the same and presented information the same with the same ideas we would get nowhere.
There are always different ways to look at things and with the good always comes the bad. Choose to focus on the good and life will be happier and you will be a lot less angry. I can tell you that even though I read a lot of books, I find a lot of my information now online. Whether it is subscribing to newsletters or journals or even being a member of the state library so I can access archives online, the way we do things relies heavily on the internet so of course, it makes sense for us to put our information back out there in the same way.
Of course with this comes a caution. While the internet makes it great that anyone can put information out there, it means ‘anyone’ can put information out there and you are viewing it through their lens. Always triple-check things and if you find inconsistencies remember to look as far back at historical record as you can. Remember that local newspapers and historical records can be wrong as well. Be wary of people that are sharing information online where they have just copied and pasted information verbatim without a source or credit. They are not only ripping off the hard work of a fellow researcher (yes we always know when it is our work and so do our followers), but it means the information has likely not been fact-checked and just shared. There is a lot of misinformation out there and it is often repeated when people don’t do their own research. View things as they are and not how a person wants you to see them, Always always ALWAYS do your own research and most importantly make up your own mind.
On a side note, I do hope that people learn from my website or even if they become inspired and it makes them think, I have done my job. I don’t view it as a job, it is I guess a side hobby and the information is really just there for me to look back at and retain like I am sharing my paranormal brain with the world. If it were not for social media and the internet, LLIFS simply would not exist.