Indonesian Student Association For International Studies ISAFIS
Indonesian Student Association For International Studies ISAFIS

Indonesian Student Association for International Studies (ISAFIS) had been established since 14th February 1984. ISAFIS is a non-profit students organization, with the purpose to build the vision of mutual understanding among nations through youth cooperation. Along the way in its 30th year, ISAFIS has grown through deepening the coherence between its internal divisions' coordination, while widening efforts of its works for youth empowerment. The members are students from universities in Jabodetabek: University of Indonesia, Trisakti University, Paramadina University, Pelita Harapan University, Paramadina University, Bogor Institute of Agriculture, and many more.




"The Wealth of Information: The Less Respectful and Attentive Us"

24 November 2017   15:42 Diperbarui: 8 Januari 2018   11:47 427 0 0

Written by: Theo Situmorang - Research and Development ISAFIS

Social change is an alteration in society's values and norms over time in certain place that leads to the alteration of behavioral patterns. The time and place variable shows something dynamic, indicates that alteration will always happen in the future. It results a collective alteration in life quality and the more mature level of thinking---things that move forward---so that it should be potential in creating advancement for public itself.

 In the midst of a progressive world, we are going through a so called post-truth era. Post-truth means relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than to emotion and personal belief. This happens because personal values, or certain communal values, are being spoken louder to public, so that others tend to follow their stance. It is also supported by the rapid information flow, easier access to news, that in some cases we need to question whether it is true or not. 

One of current social phenomena is a tendency of a group to blame other opposite group without further clarification, or we call that bigotry. Pick one of them that happened in this month; a mob attack to Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia (YLBHI) office who are accused of organizing communist-related event. The question now relies on what kind of event it is, does it harmful to its surrounding? This mob's emotion through media covers the objective fact that YLBHI has always been helping people from every layer. 

Therefore, public opinion towards this case mostly shaped by the unproven accusation of that event. The bigger scene on this tendency also happens in Britain Exit from European Union and the US election last year. We have to admit that we may believe what words or opinions we have heard first than what we can do to prove something.  

That rapid information flow does not only affect our emotion, but it does also to our attention. According to the research on human attention by Microsoft in 2015, brain activities of 112 participants who are overflowed with news that measured by Electroencepalograph (EEG) shows the decrease in our attention span into 8 seconds, compared to the 9-second span of gold fish! This result shows that the extent of information in our brain is only in a very short moment. 

This research may need to be run in a larger amount of people, but that data sufficiently convinces us that there is something wrong with our attention. Something that makes us careless. Therefore, there is a prediction says that we will be apathetic of global issues. Quite make sense right? How we can put ourselves in others' shoes who suffer national instability, war or pandemic when we only have that small span.

Media nowadays provide us with instant information. Mention that Snapchat in 2011, Vine in 2013 and the one who fills our daily basic, Instagram Story and Boomerang in 2016. Moreover, now Facebook has that instagram-story-like option on the top of it. 

People can tell the world what happen to them, how they feel, or anything else that less important than our lunch time. We skip that lunch just because we sit with our smartphone and then open and reply to everyone's story or watching that 3-second boomerang ten times. Means, later we are not only less attentive to the world, but also to ourselves itself! 

An economics noble winner, Herbert A. Simon, who are the first to describe the relationship between information and attention, says that information consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. Now, it is the kindest option for us, to sometimes take a rest with our smartphones. 

We need that warm feeling when we can directly communicate with other face to face, and that not guilty feeling when we are not updating others' stories in one day. We can have that advancement, but we should never be forgetful of our core being, that we are graced with emotion and attention to rule over the world.