Dealing with Digital Overload

June 19, 2015

Most people acknowledge that digital overload is a two-sided "bitcoin." Ag information is now plentiful, diverse, and easy to access. It can also be slanted, faulty, and misleading.
 
For some, the biggest issue is volume--we have so much information at our fingertips we risk becoming digitally numb. For example, typing "GMO" into Google search results in 85,500,000 results. Even a genetically modified brain couldn't deal with that. 
 
CAST is part of the digital wave, but the organization does its best to keep ag communication concise, credible, and easy to use. Whether you are looking for background information, science-based research, agricultural trends, links to articles and opinions, or maybe something odd or humorous, CAST provides these outlets:
 
**  This CAST website includes information about the organization, but the key category is "Publications." It includes free downloads of peer-reviewed, science-based Issue Papers, Commentaries, and Task Force Reports. Check out the Annotated Forthcoming section to see what research papers are coming, including information about the Ag Innovation Series--CAST's ambitious 12-paper project examining specific programs, policies, and techniques that will advance global food security. 
 
** The "Publications" section also includes a category called "Ag quickCASTS." These one-page summaries of full-length CAST publications have been popular with those wanting the key facts about ag issues. Several of the Ag quickCASTs have been translated into Spanish.
 
** CAST videos are located on YouTube and School Tube (available on this website homepage). The organization is also developing an upcoming film series, "Top 50 Food Questions"--concise, entertaining videos filled with credible, understandable information about food. Check out a sample video: "How to Keep Groceries Safe to Eat."   
 
 ** CAST's social media presence helps members keep up with ag activities and opportunities.
•    Facebook page includes the popular "CAST Catch of the Day"
•    Blog site offers reflections, news items, and occasional ag oddities--2,000+ views a month
•    Twitter account tweets about ag happenings and CAST information--4,800+ followers
•    Pinterest site provides plenty of visual aspects about food production
•    Linked In page includes basic information and links 
Maybe these links will provide some useful ag-related information, but a different suggestion might be more important: power down often enough to enjoy some "analog time." One online quote updates a John Lennon lyric to put it this way:   "Life is what happens to you while you're busy looking at your smartphone."