Information Overload is the problem of dealing with the sheer amount of information available. It is the common ground between sorting through the news, sorting through email spam, and the problem of how to build a search engine. It is the problem of reading articles on the web, and getting the feeling that each one was important and valuable, and then afterwards deciding that you spent too much time reading articles on the web. The first problem is that there is too much junk to sort through; the deeper problem is that there is too much good stuff to sort through.
They say the soul weighs 21 grams, and now we have a measurement of the American mind on any given day: 34 gigabytes. According to a University of California, San Diego, study highlighted by The New York Times, the average American consumes 34 GB worth of content a day, including a whopping 100,000 words of information.
The report clarifies that we don’t necessarily parse a full 100,000 words per day, but that that rather astounding figure does cross our eyes and ears each 24-hour interval via multiple channels: the Web, TV, text messaging, radio, video games and more. (more…)
Information overload: are you affected by it? How can you better manage it? Are big companies giving us more and better information? How can you determine which information is worthwhile looking at? How to you decrease the noise created by the huge volume of info coming at you everyday?
Information overload is a two-sided problem: 1) The sender does not communicate her message efficiently 2) The receiver is unable to filter the information and evaluate which is the one she really needs.
Although computer ubiquity is generally perceived in a positive light giving students continual access to the global community, there are some disadvantages that our Digital Native generation experiences. If DNs are continually surrounded by gadgets and computers how are they going to learn the importance of reflecting on issues? How will they learn to look for information anywhere beyond regular search engines like Google? (ie: libraries, interviewing others, etc.)
If you just skim the headlines, it seems like we might be screwed: “Social websites harm children’s brains: Chilling warnings to parents from top neuroscientist,” “Facebook and Bebo risk ‘infantilising the human mind: Greenfield warns social networking sites are changing children’s brains, resulting in selfish and attention deficient young people,” “Oxford Scientist: Facebook Might Ruin Minds” or going straight for the punch, “Is Social Networking Killing You?” (more…)
One of the biggest problems we face today is handling large quantities of information. Our technology and access to information is impressive but it’s a double-edged sword. It fills our minds and our lives with clutter. The challenge is to sort, filter, organize, discard and assimilate the massive amounts of data we’re exposed to on a daily basis. On an average day I receive over 150 emails—some days as many as 500. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. So what are we to do? Here are a few things I’ve found to help me manage my inbox better.
I hope everyone agrees that attention is a scarce good. But I’m curious how people measure it. After all, if we’re going to talk about an economic good being scarce, we ought to quantify it!
Clay Shirky’s take on it is that the information overload problem (at least as it pertains to email) is an email filtering problem, not an information overload problem.
The Internet may be getting too big. Your first reaction to that should be to think I’m an idiot. It’s OK, I’m used to it. How can an information source be too big? How can there be too many books in the library, or too many movies, or too many music CDs? (more…)