Information Overload

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Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the amount of information that surrounds you? We’re bombarded incessantly with high-speed streams of data, trivia, minutiae. But how do we navigate it without drowning in the overwhelming digital current?

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It’s likely that you’ve been frustrated after failing to find the specific information you were seeking, or reading something poorly written by an outrageously unqualified author, or something of the sort. We’ve all opened a browser with a certain destination in mind, but notifications lead to messages lead to hyperlinks lead to social networking posts. Before we know it, the battery icon threatens mutiny and time has run out. Did we accomplish what we set out to do?

I’m concerned that too much information could actually work against us.

“Information is not knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

Does availability to masses of information help or hinder proper use of such data? Or better yet, does our ease of access to seemingly limitless information diminish our value of it?

The Wikipedias and Googles of our time have no doubt aided us in our perpetual quest for more knowledge and instant learning, but how will this affect the Millenial generation especially? We are the first generation to grow up profoundly immersed in such an Information Age. Will we suffer from some futuristic disease of Information Overload as we attempt to synthesize the reproducing viruses of content creation? Will we go crazy and have to unplug?

What I’m not saying is that a large amount of freely accessible information isn’t necessary for healthy civilization. What I am saying is that there could be something dangerous about getting lost in the ocean of data streams and updates and endless “new.” So much so that part of our humanity and physical selves could miss out on something essential to the human experience. We are meant to connect with more than mere 0s and 1s.

Could information overload diminish what we actually know?

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Do you see access to endless amounts of information to be a good thing or a dangerous thing?

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5 responses to “Information Overload

  1. Dangerous is not the word I would use to describe information overload. I see it as I see the ocean, it’s just there and I don’t try and cross it without a boat. Giving people the tools needed to build an information boat is the answer. Not everyone will choose to use the tools and that’s ok.

    • Craig,
      Good analogy. Info overload is something we should each be aware of but not afraid of, and having the right tools to use info is the key.
      Thanks for stopping by!
      John

  2. “…in an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”

    – Herbert Simon, “Designing Organizations for an Information-rich World 
in Computers, Communications and the Public Interest”

  3. Dangerous without a focus. Access to lots of information on a specific topic for a purpose is very helpful. The danger is in not focusing down on what you need. Choose a subject and a reason why you need the information and then put the blinders on.

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