The urgency test

Twitter’s homepage screams out ‘Happening now’. A tweet’s shelf-life (‘now’) ranges from a few minutes to an hour.

We are an urgent species, illustrated by our moving from from weekly magazines to daily newspapers to hourly TV news reports to momentary twitter feeds. However, this urgency blurs our understanding of the important. Just return from an extended vacation away from your newspaper and your twitter feed and you will be quick to realize that you haven’t missed anything.

The important issues are those that pass the test of urgency. The Second World War didn’t happen yesterday. We don’t tweet about the lives of Michelangelo or Marco Polo. The Tao Te Ching was written in the 6th century BC. Yet, despite those things not being urgent, we continue to read about them today.

Things that are neither urgent nor important are forgotten. Therefore, you can use urgency as a filter – if something is not urgent and continues to be remembered, it is likely to be important.

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