AUSTRALIA is one of the top 20 most well-connected internet using nations in the world, and ranks in the top 10 for use of social-networking websites. Of every 10 Australians, three have a Facebook profile, more than two use Twitter and one logs on to MySpace.
Such is life in the post-Web 2.0 world. The latest iteration of the Internet — deemed the “real-time Web” by some analysts, is exemplified by the obsessive use of PCs or cellphones for quick interactions and dips into the online information stream. This hyper-connectedness is fueled by the rise in social media and distinguished by quick, short communication and, increasingly, an absence of privacy.
A question asked at the 2009 ACEM Winter Symposium following our presentation on ‘The Web 2.0 Rollercoaster’ was: How can emergency physicians deal with information overload?
Fear of information overload is a barrier preventing doctors from using web resources. But, given that humanity has been experiencing information overload since the invention of the Gutenberg press, ignoring web resources to avoid confronting this daunting problem is a maladaptive, self-defeating strategy. Here are some ‘Life in the Fast Lane’ pointers to help ‘Web 2.0 laggards’ pull their heads out of the ground and off-load the stress of information overload.