Secondhand Sources

It often seems like all the information in the world is flowing right towards us. Aimed directly at us like a laser. That’s a big problem for most people.

No, not the fact that we have an information laser aimed at our faces 24/7. The fact that we think we do, when in fact we very much do not.

See, this is the mother of all availability biases. We have so much information aimed at us that we can’t even conceive of the information that isn’t. But that information is out there – and it’s useful. It’s just not coming our way.

The information that people go out of their way to shove in your face will always be information that it benefits the sender for you to have. Marketing and proselytizing abounds. Sometimes this is okay – it’s perfectly conceivable for the interests of an information-giver to align with your own. But it happens more often if you’re deliberate about it.

Meanwhile, the information you’d really love to have if you knew about it is floating around out there, being transmitted between people who aren’t you, simply because you haven’t stepped into its path.

Go find the people who care about the things you care about, and pay attention to them. They may not be the people with the primary information, but if you find a hundred people who care about what you care about, they’ve definitely found more primary sources than you know about. Step out of the path of information people are trying to give you for their own purposes, and find the communities of people who care about the information you care about.

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