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The Cost of Real-Time Information

These last few weeks have been interesting. I had a chance to see myself in action from a reflective standpoint while also taking in the world around me. This pandemic has also helped me see how others think that I didn’t realize may have felt the way they do.

I found myself at home with my kids for the last 6 weeks. We’ve been doing homework and hanging out. It’s been fun and I’m definitely grateful to have a job where I am still receiving pay during all of this. Especially knowing so many are struggling.

I caught myself reading the news and researching for the first two weeks. Doing what I do best under stress, moving into my head. Once I realized that this wasn’t helpful, I readjusted to increase my mental wellbeing. I've also watched friends fall prey to some of the conspiracy theories that are going around, I myself started to wonder at one point… Maybe they’re onto something!

Luckily, I snapped back into reality. One thing many conspiracy theorists have in common is their willingness to play on people’s emotions. They incite fear, anger, sadness, etcetera. Next thing you know, they have a following. It’s easy to get caught up in this during a time like now.

Our society has moved into a time where information is at our fingertips as soon as we want it. We demand to know what is happening at every moment. While this is valuable for some during this pandemic, it can cause a stink for others because things can change in the blink of an eye. Research takes time. Something that is not afforded to the scientists and researchers who are doing their best to figure out what they need to.

They’re asked what they know so they deliver that information. While many might see this and think “Cool, they’re making progress”, others think “Awesome, they’ve figured it out!” Then, the researchers find new information, so they change their theories or relay different information, which causes the latter group to start doubting what was said in the first place.

One cost of real-time information is doubt, among many other things. As a leader, I’ve been in the shoes of these researchers and scientists (on a much smaller scale) at different points in my career. I always do my best to gather as much information as possible before delivering it to my team. There are many times that I must deliver the message with only snippets of details, however. In those moments, I tell my team that more information will be coming, chances are someone (or more) isn’t listening. So, when I come back later to add details, I’m hit with questions, frustration, sighs… Doubt that I missed something the first time or maybe I’m hiding something. It only takes one person to share their negative emotions or questions before more questions or concerns come about. I can only imagine what it must be like with a whole country of questions, frustration, sighs, and doubt and a lot more negative people in the mix. The reality is no one has all the answers. It’s impossible even without a pandemic.

I feel for them. Their job is hard right now and it’s probably not ending anytime soon. There are so many unanswered questions, there’s so much more testing to do, so many more unknowns that will pop up along the way. And while working through all of those details, they’ll continue to answer questions and face the consequences of not having all the answers while others claim to have them and continue to incite fear.


This has retaught me a valuable lesson. While I love real-time information, I know that this means details will be coming so don’t get my hopes up too soon. It’s also taught me that there are a lot of people who don’t care if the information is founded in science or proven facts before they believe it. While I knew this before, I didn’t realize the number was as large as it seems right now. That is scary…

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